Youngsters warned to stay away from the railway tracks this half term

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Police are urging boys and young men to stay away from the tracks this half term.

As the autumn break approaches, officers will be increasing patrols as trespass hotspots, in a bid to deter young people from playing on or taking shortcuts along the railway.

West Yorkshire is an area where trespass is a particular issue, resulting in delays which cause countless misery for passengers and distress to train drivers who fear they might hit someone.

BTP and Network Rail data shows the majority of trespass reports relate to teenage boys seen lineside during the school holidays. The remaining incidents involve older teens and young men taking shortcuts at stations, either between platforms or to exit the stations, often under the influence of alcohol.

Chief Inspector Lorna McEwan from BTP said: “While the number of trespass incidents tend to tail off as the weather gets colder, we still receive a considerable amount of reports at this time of year with 97 offences recorded in West Yorkshire last autumn.

“Whether it’s due to a fascination with trains, peer pressure or lad culture, we know boys and young men are the most likely groups to go on the tracks and are therefore at a higher risk of being killed or seriously injured as a result of trespassing.

“This half term, we’re asking parents, do you know where your son is and can you be sure he isn’t messing about on the railway line? To those young men who are catching the trains on nights out, we’d urge you to be aware of your surroundings and to stay away from the tracks.

“In the last 10 years, 170 young people in the UK have lost their lives after trespassing on the railway. That’s why we’re targeting hotspots with posters and signs asking boys and young men to take a reality check when it comes to trespass by reminding them they are real tracks, with real trains and real life consequences.

Hayley Bull, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “We cannot stress enough the danger young people are placing themselves and others in by trespassing on the railway.

“We’re urging parents to make sure children understand just how unsafe it is to trespass on the railway and how failing to use the railway safely could have potentially tragic consequences.”