Undercover police hunt train vandals

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A TRAIN, carrying undercover police officers, is being used to tackle vandals and trespassers who risk their lives on the Robin Hood railway line through Newstead.

British Transport Police, Network Rail and East Midlands Trains have launched a crackdown to coincide with the warmer weather and lighter nights.

As part of the initiative, a ‘Q train’ — a special East Midlands vehicle posing as a ‘dummy’ commuter-train — is being used.

The train carries police officers and Network Rail staff who can jump out and tackle trespassers and vandals.

BTP officers also increased line-side patrols during the Easter holidays.

Insp Mark Clements, of the British Transport Police, warned that vandals messing around near railways are dicing with death.

“Trespass may not sound like a serious offence but, in the unforgiving environment of the railway, it can be a major safety hazard,” he said.

“Trespassers put themselves, rail staff and passengers in danger. Trespass often leads to other offences.

“It is difficult to commit vandalism or to obstruct trains without trespassing.

“Holes made in fences by trespassers allow children to wander on to the railway, sometimes with fatal consequences.

“Vandalising signalling and communications equipment and obstructing trains puts lives at risk, while stone throwing is potentially fatal. Even a small stone dropped from a bridge and meeting a train travelling at 100mph can kill.”

Anyone with information about a crime on the Robin Hood Line should contact BTP on 0800 405040 or call the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.