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Trespass warning issued to children in Scotland as summer holidays begin

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#realitycheck campaign

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Reports come in of children playing on the tracks. They’re laughing, being jovial and placing items on the rails, not a care in the world. All completely oblivious to the impending danger, a train approaching at speeds close to 125mph. They narrowly escape with their lives. 

During the summer months, incidents such as that are all too common on the railway throughout England, Wales and Scotland. 

That is why today, British Transport Police and the ScotRail Alliance are issuing a firm warning to youngsters throughout Scotland – this behaviour is lethal. 

As schools break out for summer, BTP and the ScotRail Alliance each record a spike in trespass incidents involving children.

Often, the youngsters involved are out to have fun and rarely recognise the danger they put themselves in by being on the railway. Both trains, and the 25,000 volts travelling through overhead cables on sections of Scotland railway, have the potential to cause fatal injuries. 

Just days into this year’s summer break, worrying incidents have already started to occur.

On Sunday 2 July , two boys were spotted trespassing on the west coast mainline near Wishaw, while on Friday 30 June children were also seen trespassing near Dalmeny station. In another serious incident on Monday 26 June a group of youths were seen jumping and pushing each other off the platform at Muirend station.

Leading BTP’s efforts to reduce trespass incidents, Inspector Stewart Strong, said: “What is very worrying about these incidents is that youngsters simply do not realise the danger they put themselves in. Every day, we are called to similar incidents and during the summer we record a spike in trespass incidents involving children. 

“Trains travel at incredibly high speeds and can often approach silently. Before a child has time to react they could be struck and killed. 

“My officers have experienced first-hand the devastation families are left with when their child is killed whilst playing on the tracks. Therefore, I would like to plead directly to parents and carers. Talk to your children and explain to them the hazards of the railway, it is not a playground.”

In order to help educate on the risks of trespassing on the tracks, officers throughout Scotland regularly visit schools to speak with youngsters. Since the beginning of this year, more than 100 schools in trespass hotspots have been visited by officers from BTP. 

Inspector Strong added: “By visiting schools directly, we can explain the dangers to children themselves. We’ll continue to do all we can to keep youngsters safe by patrolling areas where we know they’re likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so.”

David Lister, Safety & Sustainability Director for ScotRail Alliance, said: “Trespassing is extremely dangerous and can have tragic consequences for those involved. Trains travelling at speed take a long time to stop and anyone struck by one is likely to be killed or very badly injured.

“We take trespass on our infrastructure extremely seriously and work closely with British Transport Police to educate the public on the dangers of misusing the railway. Anyone who sees a trespasser, or who has concerns about specific locations where they know trespassers are gaining access to the railway, can report them to our national helpline 24-hours-a-day on 03457 114141."
Watch the campaign video here: Please note, none of the clips contain footage from Scotland. 

Notes to editors – statistics relating to trespass in Scotland 

Jun 2017 =      118 * Summer 6 wk School holiday period. 
May 2017 =     128
Apr 2017 =      137 * Easter 2 wk School holiday period. 
Mar 2017 =     84
Feb 2017 =      42
Jan 2017 =       31
Dec 2016 =      26
Nov 2016 =     23
Oct 2016 =      39
Sep 2016 =      47
Aug 2016 =     38 * Summer 6 wk School holiday period. 
Jul 2016 =        85 * Summer 6 wk School holiday period
Jun 2016 =      51
May 2016 =     121
Apr 2016 =      122 * Easter 2 wk School holiday period. 
Mar 2016 =     88
Feb 2016 =      41
Jan 2016 =       47

Trespass across Scotland for the month of June 2017 = 118 of which 55 incidents involved kids/youths or children at 46 different locations.


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