STAY off the tracks and avoid death this summer.
That is the message from rail police chiefs to Sunderland youngsters during the holidays.
British Transport Police (BTP) are urging parents to make sure that their children know about the extreme dangers of going near railway lines.
During school holidays, and with the onset of warmer weather and longer nights, officers often see a rise in children and young people trespassing on the tracks, and they are worried that someone will be seriously injured or killed.
In response, they are increasing patrols across the rail network during the school break to deter children and young people from trespassing on the tracks and catch anyone in the act.
There have been a number of dangerous incidents in and around Tyne and Wear Metro stations in Sunderland in the past year.
In March, a man was seen walking off the end of the platform at Pallion station, on to rail lines and in the direction of South Hylton.
In January, CCTV images were issued of a man going on to the rail line at Pallion to retrieve a football which was on the tracks.
BTP chief inspector of operations Derek O’Mara said: “During the holidays, we traditionally see an increase in offences on the railway.
“We are hoping that by targeting hot- spot areas, and through the education work we have already done, we will reduce the number of incidents this summer and deter the majority of youngsters from playing or hanging around on the railways.
“We are also asking parents and adults to take responsibility and emphasise the dangers to your children, and if you live near the railway, ask yourself if you know where your children are playing.
“This is not about stopping children having fun – it is about keeping them safe from harm.
“BTP officers are all too often called to incidents where youngsters have been injured, and in some cases killed, because they were messing about on or near the railway, and we do not want to have to tell any family that their son or daughter will not be coming home.
“The message is simple: stop causing trouble, stay safe and stay off the tracks.”
To report a crime to British Transport Police, call 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016.
In an emergency, call 999.