Parents urged to keep children from tracks

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Parents are being urged to help their children stay safe during the summer holidays by not allowing them to play near railways.

British Transport Police has launched its annual stay-off-the tracks campaign.

The force said during the school holidays it often sees a rise in children and teenagers trespassing on the tracks and officers are worried someone will get seriously injured or killed.

In response, patrols are being increased as a deterrent to trespassing and ‘pranks’ such as stone-throwing, obstructions being placed in front of trains and lineside vandalism.

Chief Inspector Derek O’Mara, of British Transport Police, said: “During the holidays we traditionally see an increase in offences on the railway. We are hoping that by targeting hot spot areas and through the education work we have already done, we will reduce the number of incidents this summer and deter the majority of youngsters from playing of hanging around on the railways.

“We are also asking parents and adults to take responsibility and emphasise the dangers to their children.

“If you live near the railway, ask yourself if you know where your children are playing.

“This is not about stopping children having fun – it is about keeping them safe from harm.

“Officers are all too often called to incidents where youngsters have been injured and in some cases killed because they were messing about on or near the railway.

“Trains can approach quietly and, if you are trespassing, often when you do hear an approaching train it can be too late to move out of the way.”

British Transport Police said it will ‘robustly’ deal with anyone caught trespassing, or obstructing the railway tracks, and would prosecute.