A MAN who fell approximately 50 feet after trying to steal cable from a Metrolink stop on the Altrincham line has been jailed.
John Daw, 41, of Salford, pleaded guilty to attempted theft at Manchester Crown Court on January 3 and was sentenced to two years and nine months in jail.
Between 2am and 3am on May 9 last year, Daw and another man, who has not been identified, tried to cut the fibre optic cables on the track around the Cornbrook Metrolink Station in a failed attempt to steal the metal.
The pair were disturbed by Metrolink staff and ran off.
Daw then tried to escape by climbing over the viaduct wall, but fell up to 50 feet onto waste land below, fracturing his skull, pelvis and right leg.
He became trapped under the viaduct arches and firefighters had to break open a steel door to rescue him.
The system brought the entire Metrolink to a halt, causing services on the Eccles, Altrincham, MediaCity UK and south Manchester lines to be suspended for several hours.
The damage also affected public address systems at other stops, meaning officials could not inform frustrated passengers why their trams were not arriving.
Transport for Greater Manchester also had to put on replacement bus services which cost the company thousands of pounds in lost revenue.
Daw's sentence takes other offences into account.
John Woods, from Greater Manchester Police's Operation Alloy taskforce, which focuses on metal theft, said: "This incident dramatically highlights the very real dangers of metal theft, not just to the culprits themselves but also to businesses and the wider public whom are often the 'forgotten victims' of this sort of crime.
"In attempting to steal cables from a live railway track, Daw risked his own life before nearly killing himself after falling 50 feet trying to escape.
He added: "Metal theft is a problem we are making huge strides towards tackling and incidents of this sort of opportunistic crime are decreasing.
“However, as this incident shows it only takes one incident to cause all sorts of chaos, not to mention putting people's lives at risk, which is why Greater Manchester Police will continue to bring offenders like Daw to justice."