DORSET has experienced an “explosion” in metal thefts this year – and it’s causing problems for train passengers, a new report says.

The number of incidents reported in the county increased by 287 per cent – more than any other county in the UK.

In 2018, more than 300 metal thefts were reported, up for 79 in 2017.

According to experts, the thefts are having an impact on train travel.

British Transport Police statistics show that trespass and theft account for 43 per cent of the delays to journeys across England and Wales.

The figures have been released in a report by metals4U.

Company founder and CEO Paul McFadyen said: “As a business that supplies metals to customers across a range of sectors, we know how important the issue of metal theft is and how much damage it can cause.

“The massive increase in Dorset is particularly alarming. It is encouraging to note the initiatives and action being taken by organisations like Network Rail and the British Transport Police towards tackling the issue, but there’s plenty more work to be done.”

Metal theft “causes misery to thousands” every year as “vital train services are cancelled”, while business owners face forced closures, Mr McFadyen said.