TWO thieves were caught red-handed stealing £4000 worth of copper wire by an off-duty police officer.
John McFadyen and Donny Ritchie were spotted as they tried to snatch the pile of electrical cable on a country road.
The officer called his colleagues to the B792 between Bathgate and Torphichen, and the thieves were arrested.
Police found a length of towrope similar to a piece of rope tied to the end of the cable lying on the road.
Livingston Sheriff Court was told yesterday that the electrical wiring belonged to British Telecom.
McFadyen, 30, and Ritchie, 28, both from Glasgow, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to stealing the scrap cable.
Sheriff Donald Muirhead ordered the pair to be electronically tagged for 96 days under a 7pm to 7am curfew.