Scotland crime news: Trespass and vandalism on the railways increased from last year as British Transport Police encourage parents to talk to their children
The British Transport Police are encouraging parents to talk to their children in the wake of a rise in incidents around railway tracks.
There were 1969 trespass incidents in Scotland in the last year, compared with 1632 the year before.
There were also 778 incidents of vandalism dealt with by the BTP, compared with 635 last year.
Vandalism includes stone throwing, damage to shelters, fire extinguishers being let off and graffiti.
Officers have been engaging with schools to try and raise awareness of the dangers of the railway.
British Transport Police Inspector, Michael Magee explained: “The railway is not a playground. Every time someone steps onto the track they are putting themselves at risk of serious, life-changing injury.
“We tend to see a spike in cases of juvenile related trespass and anti-social behaviour during the school holidays. This summer we are urging parents and carers to have that conversation with their children to ensure they are aware of the dangers of the railway.
"Safety is our top priority and we’re asking that we all speak to our loved ones to prevent further damage or serious injury.”
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail route director for Scotland, added: “Trespassing on the railway is incredibly dangerous - trains take a long time to stop and anyone struck by one will suffer serious injury or worse.
“The railway is also full of hidden dangers – like overhead power lines which can carry up to 25,000 volts and kill instantly.
“We are working closely with the British Transport Police, and other partners, to raise awareness of the dangers of trespass and would urge the public to keep off the tracks.”
The important messages for children include the fact that the rail network is never switched off, the electricity powers the overhead cables 24/7.
It’s also not possible to anticipate when the next train is due as timetables are subject to change and freight trains can run at any time of day or night.
Trespass is illegal, and anyone caught can face a £1,000 fine and a criminal record.