An urgent warning is being issued to young people around Scotland as figures show trespass is on the rise across the region.
In the three years, there has been an 18 per cent rise in the number of reports of trespass by children over the summer.
Longer evenings, coupled with the school holidays, spell danger for Britain’s youth as statistics show young people are twice as likely to trespass at this time of year than in the winter.
This summer, British Transport Police (BTP) and Network Rail are urging parents to warn their children of the dangers of playing on the tracks.
Mark Henderson, senior community safety manager from Network Rail, 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.
“Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks. As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist.
“Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”
Over the past 10 years, almost 170 young people in the UK have lost their lives after trespassing on the railway. The data shows that just under half of those killed are under the age of 25.
Of those who have died in the last 10 years, 72 per cent of trespassers were struck by a train anf 17 per cent were electrocuted. Others fell from structures or trains.
Most trespassers highlight taking a short cut (42 per cent) as their main motivation for committing the crime, followed by thrill-seeking (19 per cent).
In response to the seasonal surge in incidents, officers from British Transport Police are stepping up patrols across the country.
Chief Inspector Dave Marshall, who is responsible for BTP’s response to trespass in Scotland, said: “The last thing our officers want to do is knock on someone’s door to tell a parent their child has been killed or seriously injured as a result of trespassing.
“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.
“That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real life consequences.
“In addition to patrols, we’ve also created a series of videos aimed at warning of the dangers of trespass to deter people from endangering their lives by going on the lines.”
You can find information on how to keep your children safe on the railway this summer here.
To find out how you can keep safe on the railway this summer click here