TEENAGE boys and young men are at the greatest risk of being killed while trespassing on railways lines, police have warned.
As the half-term holidays begin, British Transport Police (BTP) is urging them to stay away from the tracks.
They are real tracks, with real trains and real life consequences.Chief Inspector Lorna McEwan
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 said: “While the number of 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.”
The BTP is stepping up its patrols at hotspots across the county this week, but said parents also have a role to play.
Insp McEwan said: “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 people in the UK have lost their lives after trespassing on the railway.
Insp McEwan added: “That’s why we’re targeting hotspots with posters 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.”