A CRACKDOWN on yobs who vandalise rail lines and put people’s lives at risk has been launched at stations in Ellesmere Port.
The two-week initiative, which began prior to the Easter holidays, sees officers from British Transport Police (BTP) targeting hotspot locations across the region.
Vandals are regularly committing offences known as “route crime” which includes stone-throwing, placing obstructions such as shopping trolleys and traffic cones in front of trains and trespassing.
Locally, police have received reports of yobs hurling stones at Overpool and Little Sutton stations over the course of the last month.
Officers are currently patrolling these locations with a mixture of high profile and plain clothes operations while CCTV will also be monitored.
To gain access to remote areas they may also deploy motorbike patrols.
Youths who are stopped will be asked which school they attend to see if there is a trend and specially trained liaison officers will then visit to educate children of the dangers on the railway.
Inspector Lorna McEwan of British Transport Police said: “During the Easter holidays we have traditionally seen an increase in vandalism and stone-throwing offences on the railway.
“We are hoping that this year by targeting the hot spot areas and through the education work we have already done we will reduce the number of incidents and deter the majority of youngsters from messing about on the railway.
“People who trespass or commit crime on the railway are putting their own lives at serious risk as well as the lives of all the staff and passengers travelling on trains.
“It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or even killed as a result of one of these incidents.
“I am also appealing to parents and adults to emphasise the dangers to your children and if you live near the railway ask yourself if you know where your children are playing.”
“It is worth remembering that if you are caught deliberately obstructing the railway and endangering people’s safety the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.”
Anyone with information about a crime on the railway should contact BTP on 0800 405040 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.