Youths risk 'life-changing' injury after spike in railway trespassing

Youngsters have pelted carriages with stones amid a slew of incidents investigated by officers amid a warning to stay away from live tracks.

Youths at risk of ‘serious and life-changing’ injury after spike in railway trespassing iStock
Trespass incidents on Scottish railways have 'spiked' in the last year.

Transport police have warned a “spike” in railway trespassing incidents in Scotland is putting youngsters at risk of “serious, life-changing” injuries.

Officials recorded a 20% rise in the number of reports of people on the line in the 2020-21 period – rising from 1,632 to 1,969.

Youths have also battered passing carriages with stones and let off fire extinguishers in almost 800 instances of vandalism probed by British Transport Police officers during the year.

It comes at the start of the summer months and school holidays, when occurrences of similar incidents tend to increase.

BTP 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.”

Train power lines can carry voltages of up to 25,000, and have a “high risk of fatality”.

Fines of up to £1,000 can be levelled against individuals found to be trespassing on the network, BTP officials warned.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail route director for Scotland, said: “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.

“We are working closely with the BTP, and other partners, to raise awareness of the dangers of trespass and would urge the public to keep off the tracks.”