Boys warned after near miss with high speed train

Youngsters have been caught on CCTV during a near-miss at Wester Hailes. Picture: British Transport Police
Youngsters have been caught on CCTV during a near-miss at Wester Hailes. Picture: British Transport Police
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TWO young boys have been given a formal warning after they missed being struck by a high-speed train by seconds

Eight children between six and 12 were identified by officers for trespassing at Wester Hailes station earlier this year – playing chicken on the tracks and jumping from the platforms.

The British Transport Police said information on some of the youths was passed to the Children’s Panel, while others were given formal warnings in front of their parents.

In May, CCTV cameras positioned at the station caught the boys running across the railway line and launching themselves from the platforms.

It also caught two children almost being struck by a fast passing train, cheating death by just seconds.

Constable Niall Bonnar of the British Transport Police (BTP), said: “Following extensive inquiries we were able to track down those who had been involved and attended their home addresses.

“Their parents expressed real shock when informed of the circumstances and have been extremely supportive in reinforcing the seriousness of the actions to the boys.

“The two boys who narrowly missed being struck by a high-speed train as it passed through the station were identified and following consultation with other agencies were each issued with an early and effective intervention formal warning.”

BTP said an initiative aimed at reducing the number of trespassing incidents in the area has been “extremely effective”.

Mr Bonnar added: “Before the schools broke up BTP officers visited primary schools in the vicinity of Wester Hailes station and delivered safety presentations to around 1200 pupils. These were well-received by pupils, teachers and parents alike.

“We also increased high-visibility patrols, particularly during the school summer holidays, and there were no more incidents of children trespassing during that period.”

John Aitchison, chairman of Wester Hailes Community Council, was pleased to hear that the initiative had been successful. He said: “This incident brought a lot of concern to our community council meetings. You don’t get a second chance if a train hits you. It’s good that CCTV coverage was able to highlight what was going on.

“Thankfully it was an isolated incident and now that the children know they are being monitored, I don’t think there will be any more occurrences.

“The local schools also highlighted how dangerous playing at railway stations can be.”

Patrols and monitoring are set to continue in the area to prevent these incidents recurring.

Dominic Heslop, a Tory councillor for the area, added: “Children venturing on to rail tracks is a deep concern but the fact that there has been enormous improvement is great.

“It’s good that the BTP have taken this seriously, not only for the children but to offer parents comfort too.”