SEVEN South Wales men who risked their lives to steal more than five miles of live high-voltage cable from pylons in Frampton-on-Severn will pay only £1 each under the Proceeds of Crime Act because they have no assets, a judge ruled today.
Although the gang benefited by £25,000 from their crimes Judge William Hart accepted at Gloucester crown court today that none of them have any money to repay.
He made nominal confiscation orders of £1 each against them, giving them 28 days to pay.
Martin Steen, prosecuting, said the Crown case is that the stolen cable had a scrap metal value of £25,000 and the men all benefited equally from the theft - by £3,571.42 each.
Investigators accepted that none of them had assets that could be seized, he said.
But he stressed that if any of the men come into money at a later date it can be confiscated from them.
The men were all jailed in December last year for conspiracy to steal cable from pylons in the village.
They are: brothers Vijay, 24, and Umar Chohan, 26, of Grand Avenue, Cardiff, Liam Murphy, 24, of Penlan Road, Llandough, Penarth, Stephen Phillips, 52, of Addicott Close, Cardiff, Martyn Richards, 27, of Heol Poyston, Ely, Cardiff. Paul Condick, 30, of Llandow rd, Cardiff, and Nathan James, 35, of Heol Trelai, Ely.
The court heard that Umar Chohan ran a scrap metal business, ABM Salvage, in Argyll Way, Cardiff.
He and his brother were jailed for two years each.
Murphy was jailed for 21 months with a concurrent 3 months sentence for possessing a taser gun. Phillips received 30 months, as did Richards.
Condick and James, got 21 months each.
The sentences all related to a specific theft at Netherhills Farm in Frampton-on-Severn - although there had been a spate of 12 such attacks on pylons in the area between August 2010 and January 2011.
The victims in the case, Western Power Distribution, said 45 tonnes of cable were stolen and £150,000 damage was done in the process.
The court heard that the gang were caught as a result of two of them being stopped by police in routine checks while driving in the area on the night of September 16 to 17 2010.
Their names were taken and when the theft was discovered on 17th by a local farmer police were quick to arrest the men - which led in turn to the other five culprits also being identified.