POLICE chiefs are cracking down on people who misuse railway crossings.
British Transport Police said they deal with incidents on a daily basis where pedestrians and motorists risk their lives and the lives of rail passengers.
Operation Look will see BTP officers and colleagues from Network Rail carry out extra patrols across the country, in a week of action, which started in Wearside today.
Officers are out at the crossing at Boldon Lane/Tilesheds, in Boldon, this week talking to pedestrians and drivers about the dangers of crossing misuse.
Tonight they will be at the junction at East Boldon/Boldon Lane.
Officers will also visit schools, youth clubs and local businesses to warn people to use crossings safely.
Between April 1 last year and March 31 this year, 732 motorists were charged or summonsed for crossing misuse, with a further 740 issued with fixed-penalty notices, and 102 cautioned for traffic offences.
Inspector Peter Kooper said: “It is important people realise there is a serious penalty to pay for crossing-misuse.
“However, while we will not hesitate to use the force of the law, we are also acutely aware of the need to promote safety at crossings through education.
“We need drivers and pedestrians to realise level crossing misuse is a danger, not only to their safety, but the safety of others.”
Some 800 level crossings have been closed in the last four years, but there are still more than 6,000 crossings on the rail network.