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Indian-origin scrap metals dealer jailed in UK’s train track conspiracy
London, May 20: An Indian-origin director of a scrap metals business is among a gang of seven men sentenced to prison for their part in stealing train track rails from the UK’s Network Rail trackside and depot locations in the East of England on several occasions.
Jaspreet Oberoi, 40, was convicted at the end of a series of trials dating back to 2022 and pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to steal and sentenced recently to 30 months’ imprisonment at Sheffield Crown Court. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that over the course of three trials in the case it was proved that JSJ Metal Recycling Ltd, of which Oberoi was a director, made the arrangements for the collection of stolen rail which funded the criminal operation.
“It was this company that made profits from these stolen goods by selling it as scrap metal to legitimate customers and businesses,” the CPS said in a statement on Monday.
The court was told that those with insider knowledge were passing the location of rails to other conspirators and heavy goods vehicles attended those locations where access was gained with the help of railway contractors. The rail was loaded onto the vehicles which were driven back to Oberoi’s scrap metal business, JSJ Metal Recycling, between March and November 2016.
“These were significant conspiracies to steal rail. Collectively they stole on 125 occasions from Network Rail which is partly funded by UK taxpayers to the tune of billions of pounds,” said Stephane Pendered, Specialist Prosecutor for CPS Serious Economic Organised Crime International Directorate.“The defendants were motivated by greed and showed no regard that these rails were needed for the running of essential rail services for passengers and businesses or to the obvious public safety risks caused by doing these thefts trackside. The CPS Proceeds of Crime Division has commenced proceedings to recover these defendants’ ill-gotten gains,” he said. (PTI)

New rules to climb Mount Fuji to fight overtourism, littering
Tokyo, May 20: Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk.
The Yamanashi prefecture said in a statement via the Foreign Press Centre of Japan Monday it introduced new rules for the climbing season, starting July 1 to September 10 for those hiking the Yoshida Trail on the Yamanashi side of the 3776 metre- (nearly 12,300 feet-) high mountain, designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2013.
Only 4,000 climbers will be allowed to enter the trail per day; 3,000 slots will be available for online booking at a fee of 2,000 yen (about USD 18), and the remaining 1,000 can be booked in person on the day of the climb.
Climbers can book their slots via Mount Fuji Climbing’s official website, jointly run by the Environment Ministry and Mt. Fuji’s two home prefectures Yamanashi and Shizuoka.
Mt. Fuji is divided into 10 stations, and there are four “5th stations” halfway up the mountain from where the four trails – the Yoshida, Fujinomiya, Subashiri, and Gotemba – start to the top.
Under the new system, climbers need to choose whether they will do a day hike or stay overnight at the several available huts across the trail. Once they input their information and the day of the climb, they are given a QR code to be scanned at the 5th station. Those who have not booked an overnight hut will be sent back down and not allowed to climb between 4 pm and 3 am, mainly to stop climbers who rush to the summit without adequate rest, raising safety concerns, authorities said. Yamanashi Gov. Kotaro Nagasaki thanked people, in a statement, for their understanding and cooperation in helping conserve Mt. Fuji. (PTI)



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