Problems with yob behaviour on the railways of West Yorkshire have spiked over the school holidays.
In the last six weeks there have been about a third (33 per cent) more incidents of people running on the tracks, stone-throwing, vandalism and obstructions being placed on the lines than during the previous six weeks.
Last Bank Holiday weekend bricks were thrown at three trains on the Leeds to Halifax and Leeds to Manchester as they travelled under a footbridge in Bradford, smashing train windows.
Inspector Richard Price, from the British Transport Police (BTP) in Leeds, said: “When the railway hears reports of trespassers, all services in that area are forced to slow down which has the knock-on effect of delaying subsequent trains – often right across the network.
“Anyone who trespasses is taking a gamble with their own lives, as well as the lives of all the staff and passengers travelling on the trains. The message is simple – stop causing trouble, stay safe and stay off the tracks.”
Figures released to the YEP show there were 59 incidents of dangerous or anti-social behaviour between May 30 and July 10. From July 11 to August 22 there were 79 incidents.
This figure included 55 of trespassing on the tracks, 13 of stone-throwing and four of criminal damage.
One incident invovled a metal cage and a pile of stones pushed onto the Leeds to Bradford line. Another saw a brick thrown through a train window in Listerdyke, Bradford.
Insp Price said: “The railway is an inherently dangerous environment, with high speed trains and electric currents, and it should never be treated as a playground or somewhere to hang about.
“If you are caught deliberately obstructing the railway or trespassing on the tracks and endangering people’s safety we will do everything in our power to prosecute you and put you before the courts. The maximum penalty is life.”
In Leeds, two girls aged 12 and 13 were caught on the tracks at Morley on August 15. Police took them home and spoke to their parents.
On August 9 a brick was hurled at a train from a bridge outside Crossgates railway station and in Armley six youths were reported on the tracks.