Fires lit at stations and dog poo smeared in train carriage - how vandals caused delays to the Metro

Shocking incidents such as dog faeces being smeared in a train are among the reasons the Tyne and Wear Metro has been delayed by vandals – and the number of incidents are on the rise.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 10:05 am

From fires being lit at stations to CCTV cameras being damaged, the number of delays caused by acts of mindless vandals has risen by 67% in the last two years.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveal there have been 131 reports of vandalism which have caused a delay of four minutes or more, including trains being withdrawn from service, over the last two years.

In 2018, 49 incidents of vandalism were reported while figures between January 1 and November 22, 2019, show there had already been 82 cases of vandalism.

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Vandals cause more than 130 delays to service in the last two years.

Nexus, which operates the Tyne and Wear Metro, says it’s working hard address issues of criminal damage to trains and stations and say overall crime levels aboard the Metro are low.

Some of the most shocking incidents of vandalism include dog faeces being smearing inside the train and vandals lighting fires at Metro stations.

More than 70 incidents where windows were vandalised have been recorded since the start of 2018.

There have also been 32 incidents of graffiti to the train, two fire extinguisher thefts and an array of other criminal damage offences.

A Nexus spokesman said: “We are working hard to address issues of low level disorder and criminal damage on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

“While overall crime levels on the network are low we will keep working with the police to target problem areas. Most incidents of criminal damage are where people target our property with graffiti tags.

“Metro remains a fundamentally safe system for people to travel on.

“Staffing levels are at a record high and we carry out regular evening patrols with the police. Staff and police also do patrols in plain clothes.

“We have invested in technology in the form of body-worn CCTV cameras for Metro staff so that they can record incidents and the footage can be used as evidence in court cases. We also have a network of CCTV cameras on our trains and at stations.

“Our new train fleet will have even better quality closed circuit camera systems to pin point trouble makers.

“Anyone who gets caught damaging Metro property faces the prospect of a court appearance and a hefty fine.”