Warning to parents as railway trespass in the region doubles over the summer holidays
- Credit: PA
Parents are being warned that children are almost twice as likely to trespass on the railway in summer than winter as figures show that trespass is on the rise in the region.
Network Rail, which manages Britain's track system, said the longer evenings and extended school holidays 'spell danger' for young people as statistics show young people are twice as likely to trespass at this time of year.
The warning comes as figures revealed that there has been a six per cent rise in the number of reports of trespass over the summer .
Over the past 10 years, almost 170 people in the UK have lost their lives after trespassing on the railway. The data shows that just under half of those killed are under the age of 25.
Some 72pc of all trespassers killed over the past 10 years were hit by a train and further 17pc were electrocuted, while others fell from structures or trains.
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Taking a short cut was the motivation for 42pc of trespass incidents, with 19pc due to thrill-seeking.
Kat O'Malley, Network Rail's community safety manager, said: 'It may seem like a good idea to take a shortcut, or like fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also extremely dangerous. Taking a short cut or playing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.
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'Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks. As the railway gets busier, we must all work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist.'
In response to the seasonal surge in incidents, officers from British Transport Police are stepping up patrols across the East of England.
Chief Inspector Tom Naughton, responsible for BTP's response to trespass in the region, said: 'The last thing our officers want to do is knock on someone's door to tell a parent or family their loved one has been killed or seriously injured as a result of trespassing.
'We're doing all we can to keep young people safe by patrolling areas where we know they're likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so. However, we cover thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone.
'That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It's not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real life consequences.'