PARENTS are being urged to warn their children about the dangers of trespassing on railway lines after incidents went up by a third in a year.
Over just five weeks last summer, there were 129 incidents of trespassing onto lines in Leeds - up from 96 in 2014, a rise of 34 per cent. British Transport Police said that as the longer evenings set in and the summer holidays begin, young people are twice as likely to trespass than in the winter.
The force has joined with Network Rail to urge parents to warn their children of the dangers of playing on the tracks.
Over the past 10 years, almost 170 young people in the UK have lost their lives after trespassing on the railway. Just under half of those killed were under the age of 25.
In July last year 16-year-old Kyle Bradley, from Wakefield, died after he was electrocuted after jumping over a fence and climbing on to a freight train in Wrenthorpe.
Over the last decade, 72 per cent of those who died were struck by a train; 17 per cent were electrocuted and the others fell from structures or trains. Most (42 per cent) were taking a short cut.
Community safety manager at Network Rail, Vicki Beadle, said: “We are urging parents to remind their children that if they are on the railway, they are on dangerous ground. It may seem like a good idea to take a shortcut, or like fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also dangerous.”
Chief Inspector Lorna McEwan who is responsible for BTP’s response to trespass in the region said: “We’re doing all we can to keep young people safe by patrolling areas where we know they’re likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so. However, we cover thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone.”