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Can you help us solve a mystery of malicious obstruction on the railway in Devon?

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Can you help us solve a mystery of malicious obstruction on the railway in Devon?

We are appealing for information after a series of incidents in which objects have been placed on the railway in Devon, causing dangerous obstruction to trains.

The latest incident took place overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday (21-22  March), when a road traffic sign and traffic cone were placed on the railway line.

At around 7.30am, a train travelling at 65mph struck the sign and came to a halt.

Passengers on board the train had to wait whilst BTP officers and Network Rail attended the scene to make it safe and investigate the obstruction, before engineers could make the damaged train driveable.

Similar incidents have been happening in this area every few months for the past two years and officers believe they are linked.

 Investigating officer, Sgt David Mannion, said: “We need to find out who is responsible for this before someone is either seriously injured or killed due to derailment from these objects on the line.

 “In all the incidents, metal road signs and other items from roadworks have been placed in between the lines, usually between the last train which leaves between 00.30am and 1am and the first train which leaves Exeter at 5.50am.

 “The incidents have been taking place in rural locations. We have recovered the items from the tracks and are examining them for forensic evidence. We are also carrying out enquiries with local residents and businesses and reviewing on board CCTV from the trains.

 “I would like to hear from anyone who knows anything about these incidents or who could help us to identify the person responsible. It was raining heavily over the night of 21-22 March. Did someone go out late or overnight, or is someone going to or from work early in the morning? Any information or detail you might have could help us with our investigation, so please contact me as soon as possible before this person strikes again.

 “The next time, the train driver and its passengers on the train which hits the objects, might not be so lucky.”

 The offences took place in the following locations:

 6 May 2015 – Newton St Cyres. A train hit two signs which were on the track, causing damage and delays

 16 May 2015 - Yeoford – train struck two signs just near station causing damage and delays

 22 May 2015 -  Newton St Cyres at station – train hit four signs placed just prior to the platform  causing damage and delays

 18 November 2016 - Gunstone Bridge, Yeoford – train struck two signs causing damage and delays

 22 March 2017 –Lapford just south of station – train struck sign and cones causing train to break down which resulted in extensive delays to rail services.

If you have any information about the incident, please call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016, quoting reference number 233 of 24/03/2017. 

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