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Rail trespassing up 25% during coronavirus lockdown

Network Rail said there were 1,024 trespass incidents recorded between March 23 and April 26.

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The figures were described as ‘disappointing’ (Lynne Cameron/PA)

The figures were described as ‘disappointing’ (Lynne Cameron/PA)

The figures were described as ‘disappointing’ (Lynne Cameron/PA)

Trespassing on Britain’s railways has increased by more than a quarter during the coronavirus lockdown, new figures show.

Network Rail said there were 1,024 incidents recorded between March 23 and April 26, compared with 818 during the equivalent period last year.

There were a total of 380 hours of delays to services during the first month of the lockdown due to trespassing.

Network Rail head of public and passenger safety Allan Spence said: “These figures are disappointing.

“Trespass is often seen as a young person problem but less than a fifth of the trespass incidents recorded in lockdown involved youngsters.

“Adults are far more likely to be the ones putting themselves in harm’s way.

“In addition to the many life-threatening dangers on the railway, trespass has a significant impact on the smooth running of rail services until the culprits can be found.

“It interrupts vital freight transport and delays those workers who have to travel.”

Rail services will be boosted next week as Covid-19 restrictions are eased, leading to more concern about the impact of trespassing.

Mr Spence added: “As train service levels begin to increase, it is more important than ever for people to stay off the tracks and stay safe.”

PA