Network Rail warns youths about trespass on railways

Image caption Network Rail is warning people to stay off rail tracks

Young people playing "chicken" on rail tracks were among the 200 incidents of trespassing on rail lines in the East Midlands in the past year.

Network Rail has warned young people they are putting their lives at risk if they play on railway lines.

In 12 cases, bicycles and rubbish bins were placed on the tracks.

The company also warned young people not to take short cuts across tracks or spray graffiti on trains or rail property.

Its No Messin' campaign, which works with local community groups and clubs across Britain, is fronted by world boxing champion Amir Khan.

Shopping trolleys

Mark Tarry, area general manager for Network Rail, said: "Unlike cars, trains cannot swerve and can take the length of 20 football pitches to stop.

"Contact with electricity power lines and tracks can result in horrific injuries, burns or even death. We want to prevent such incidents and help young people find more rewarding and exciting ways to spend their free time."

Nationally, 49 people died after trespassing on the tracks in the past year with a quarter of trespass fatalities young people aged 11-20.

A total of 60 people were reported to have played chicken on rail tracks in the UK in the past year.

In the East Midlands, there were 70 incidents of stone throwing, 12 instances of bricks being thrown at trains or placed on the tracks and a total of eight bicycles, four shopping trolleys and three rubbish bins placed on rail tracks last year.

Trespassing on the railway is a criminal offence and people can be fined up to £1,000.

If someone puts an object on the track which causes an accident, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

And if a child is charged with causing a train accident, then a parent or guardian may be prosecuted too.

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