Surge in thefts recorded on British railways - including services operating in Yorkshire

Leeds Station.Leeds Station.
Leeds Station.
A senior British Transport Police officer has said that the chance of being a victim of crime on railways is "very low" after new data shows thefts on British trains surged by 11.3 per cent last year.

While the vast majority of such cases occurred on transport in London, thousands of thefts also took place in recent years on services operating in Yorkshire, according to research from gadget insurance provider using figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests.

There was a total of 1,893 thefts on Cross Country services over four years, jumping from 428 and 537 between 2015 and 2018.

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Virgin Trains attracted 1,641 such offences in the time period, with rates increasing from 387 to 419.

There were 1,192 thefts on LNER services, leaping from 263 to 339.

And on Northern trains, 1,133 thefts were recorded over the four years, increasing from 237 to 289.

But thefts recorded on Transport for London trains accounted for nearly half (45.8 per cent) of the national total.

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Such offences recorded on the London Underground were up by more than a quarter (27 per cent) between 2017 and 2018, rising from 3,500 to 4,448 - the equivalent of more than 12 thefts every day somewhere on the tube network last year.

Great Western Railway recorded the next highest number of thefts after TfL, with 560 last year alone.

BTP Superintendent Ricky Twyford said: “The likelihood of being a victim of any crime, including theft, on the rail network is very low.

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“There are 3.2billion passenger journeys across England, Wales and Scotland every year and the vast majority are uneventful, with many passengers going their entire lives without experiencing any form of crime.

“However, large crowds at busy stations will inevitably attract thieves and so we employ a range of tactics to shut down their actions.

“These include high-visibility patrols on trains and stations and plain clothed officers for catching thieves in the act.

“We also regularly work with our partners to educate the public about keeping their belongings safe. The most important thing you can do to stop yourself becoming a victim is to keep valuables on your person at all times and your luggage with you.

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“All this helps create a very hostile atmosphere for criminals.

“If you are victim of theft we want to know, text us on 61016 or 0800 40 50 40. In an emergency always ring 999.”

BTP advice on keeping items safe:

- Try to keep luggage close by and in view and check on your bags regularly.

- Remove valuables from your luggage before placing it in luggage racks or in overhead storage compartments.

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- Don't leave valuable items unattended on a train when you visit the toilet or buffet car.

- If you are going to sleep on a train, do not leave valuables in view on the table or seat next to you. Keep them hidden.

- Ensure any bags placed on the on the floor are in front of you so that any movement of the bag will be noticeable.