UPDATE - 4pm: THIEVES caused hours of disruption to rail services in Worcestershire this morning when they stole a “significant section” of cable.

The offenders struck at Hartlebury at about 2am today, severing signalling cable and forcing a halt to London Midland services between Worcester Shrub Hill and Kidderminster until 9.15am.

Passengers had to use a replacement bus service to reach their destinations until engineers completed repairs. Normal service resumed at 1pm.

Ben Humphrey, media relations manager for North West and West Midlands, said the British Transport Police were now investigating the theft.

He said: “We believe a significant section of cable was removed from the site. With all of these cases, our priority is getting services up and running. The team did a really good job to do that earlier than expected.

“We have done a lot of work with the British Transport Police to crackdown on cable thefts and it has become a lot rarer. When we do get incidents, it can cause major disruption.”