Watch Network Rail and police explain why Sleaford is a high risk area for trespass and vandalism on the tracks

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Sleaford has been identified as a hotspot for dangerous behaviour on and around railway lines and Network Rail officials working with British Transport Police have spent a day in the town to get all ages on track with safety awareness.

The safety awareness event was staged at Boston Road Recreation Ground on Thursday on Thursday afternoon (April 11)

Network Rail Community Safety Manager Hayley Manners was joined by engineering and community safety officers and Sgt Ryan Morris from British Transport Police at a marquee offering advice to passers by and challenging young people in a survey on what they knew about railway safety throughout the afternoon.

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Hayley and Sgt Morris explained that Sleaford has been identified as being a high risk area with incidents of trespassing and vandalism on and around railways and the event is part of a tour of towns to highlight the risks as lighter nights prompt an uptick in activity.

Helping to get across the right message at the railway safety awareness event on Boston Road Recreation Ground in Sleaford. From left - British Transport Police Sergeant Ryan Morris, Matt Williams (Network Rail), Community Safety manager Hayley Manners (Network Rail), Julie Evans and Tom Concar of Network Rail.Helping to get across the right message at the railway safety awareness event on Boston Road Recreation Ground in Sleaford. From left - British Transport Police Sergeant Ryan Morris, Matt Williams (Network Rail), Community Safety manager Hayley Manners (Network Rail), Julie Evans and Tom Concar of Network Rail.
Helping to get across the right message at the railway safety awareness event on Boston Road Recreation Ground in Sleaford. From left - British Transport Police Sergeant Ryan Morris, Matt Williams (Network Rail), Community Safety manager Hayley Manners (Network Rail), Julie Evans and Tom Concar of Network Rail.

Hayley said that from data from the police and Network Rail it is noted that people are taking shortcuts across the tracks.

Sgt Morris, who is embedded with Network Rail as part of the Disruption and Drones Team based at Derby, explained: “We have seen the data and it is really seasonal. When the warmer weather arrives you see more trespass in the Sleaford East and South junctions and the Bass Maltings foot crossing as well as level crossing misuse by the station and we have seen vandalism consistently over recent years at the railway station. People aware locally that the station footbridge windows are boarded up because of damage, so those are the key issues in the Sleaford area.

"There are plenty of train movements here daily and ultimately our job is to minimise those risks for the public and especially youth trespass. We want to make a real impact and make parents aware that this is a real issue over the past couple of years and we want to prevent harm to anyone.”

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Hayley added that they have issues with people taking shortcuts across the tracks near the Bass Maltings to reach the ballast pit lakes in the summer time.

As well as engagement events such as this Hayley pointed out that those caught for trespassing on and around the railways can face a £1,000 fine or a 10 year jail term for damaging the railway and life imprisonment for endangering rail safety.

"We do explain in schools that having a bit of harmless fun with your friends on the railway can have serious consequences and it can lead to people losing their lives if not used correctly.”

She said the event had been well received by visitors and speaking to young people it was good to see they had taken the guidance on board from her recent visits.

During the event they offered leaflets, pens, reflector badges and other merchandise to help everyone understand how they can keep themselves safe as well as inviting people to take the survey.