On My Mind Disciples
Police have increased patrols on railway tracks this Easter holiday to prevent groups of young people from trespassing.
A specialist "dummy" train is being used by officers to tackle vandalism and anti-social behaviour on local railways. The train, which is identical to any other East Midlands service allows police officers and Network Rail staff to jump out and tackle trespassers.
Inspector Mark Clements of the British Transport Police warned that trespassing is not only illegal, but could also have deadly consequences. He said: "Trespass may not sound like a serious offence, but in the unforgiving environment of the railway it can be a major safety hazard. Trespassers put themselves, rail staff and passengers in danger."
"Our main concern is the safety of youngsters but we will also do everything in our power to prosecute anyone caught deliberately obstructing the railway or trespassing on the tracks and endangering people’s safety, with the maximum penalty being life imprisonment."
Police have issued photos of youngsters they wish to trace (see below), who were caught by CCTV trespassing on the line close to Pinxton in Derbyshire on March 6.
The crackdown comes at a time of year when vandalism, stone-throwing and trespassing are traditionally more common. Richard Pedley, community safety manager for Network Rail said: "Unfortunately the lighter nights and better weather always results in young people taking risks with their lives on the railway."
The British Transport Police and Network Rail are also working together to improve awareness of the issue in local schools.
Mr Pedley said: "The railway can be incredibly dangerous, you may not hear trains coming and they cannot swerve to miss you. Stay away from the tracks."
Anyone with information about a crime on the railway should contact BTP on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.