POLICE are warning youngsters to stay away from rail tracks after a spate of trespass incidents in the West Midlands.
More than 50 trespass incidents have been reported to British Transport Police (BTP) in the West Midlands since the beginning of 2014 and officers are now appealing for parents to ensure their children are aware of the dangers the railway network poses.
As well as risking death or injury, anyone caught trespassing on the rail network faces a fine of up to £1,000.
Officers have already liaised with schools, written to people living near rail lines and have stepped up patrols in a number areas where incidents have been reported.
Inspector Stuart Middlemas said: “During the lighter evenings and in school holidays, we traditionally see an increase in trespass offences on the railway.
“We are hoping that by targeting hot spot areas and highlighting the dangers of trespassing in an inherently dangerous environment, we will deter the majority of youngsters from playing or hanging around on the region’s railway.
“We are also asking parents and adults to take responsibility and emphasise the dangers to your children. If you live near the railway, ask yourself ‘do you know where your children are playing?’
“This is not about stopping children having fun – it is about keeping them safe from harm. The last thing I, or any other BTP officer, wants to do is knock on someone’s door to tell a family their child has been killed or seriously injured as a result of them trespassing or playing on the railway.”
He added that the BTP wanted parents to reinforce the work being done in schools educating youngsters about the danger posed by the railway.
"We now want all parents to lend a hand," he said. “We work hard to keep children away from the railway, but we need help in making sure the message reaches the right people."
“In the meantime officers will be out and about across the network, working to tackle crime and to keep youngsters away from the tracks.”