Bosses at a heritage railway are appealing for people not to trespass on their land. The appeal has been made by the managing director of Churnet Valley Railway, Gregory Wilson, following a number of incidents resulting in vandalism at the popular tourist spot.
Bosses at a heritage railway are appealing for people not to trespass on their land.
The appeal has been made by the managing director of Churnet Valley Railway, Gregory Wilson, following a number of incidents resulting in vandalism at the popular tourist spot.
Over the past few months, the railway has been posting about trespassing concerns on their Facebook page. One post stated: “We are disheartened to find that people continue to trespass on the railway. This is not permitted, is dangerous and can lead to you being seriously injured at best or killed.
“As previously mentioned whilst we are shut to passengers we still operate maintenance trains. These do not run to a public timetable.
“Someone people not only think it’s ok to trespass but then post it on Facebook for all to see.”
A later post stated: “Whilst our (Facebook) post last week caused quite a reaction – one of the by-products of trespass is vandalism.
“This picture shows an axle box cover which has been smashed off a set of coach bogies which were in storage pending overhaul.
“It is simply not possible to cover every bit of the railway with security fencing – equally we should be able to leave spare parts in our sidings without the fear of them being mindlessly damaged – for as in this case to achieve no real gain.”
More recently Mr Wilson said in a statement on the Churnet Valley Railway website: “Despite our repeated messages against trespassing, we are once again disappointed to discover people continue to ignore our warnings and continue to promote their potentially dangerous actions.
“Trespassing on railway property is a criminal offence, and all persons from the age of ten upwards can be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000 each.
“The implications of being prosecuted for a criminal offence can be long lasting, with some countries refusing to accept admittance even for just a holiday.
“The railway environment is not a playground, with many hazards hidden from view to the untrained eye.
“So, to see people promoting trespassing activities, and then encouraging others to join by sharing geographical locations and guidance on access, is really disappointing.
“Details of all the above have been sent to the police for each incident recorded who will be dealing with them accordingly.”
Mr Wilson added: “We are not trying to be kill joys, but simply keep the community we serve safe.
“Whilst nobody is planning to hurt themselves, all it takes is one accident and a person’s life could be changed forever.
“Therefore, we would like to repeat our message, please stay off the tracks and keep to public rights of way.
“We appreciate your co-operation with this message.”
The Times & Echo contacted Staffordshire Police for comment about the trespassing issues at Churnet Valley Railway but were unable to comment without specific details of the trespassing incidents which the railway declined to divulge.
A spokesman for the railway stated: “A Community Officer has visited repeat offenders we have become aware of, and dealt with the situation informally; explaining the criminal offence being committed and the possible punishments that can be issued.”
They added: “We won’t be giving out the reference numbers, as we feel that having the police visit is sufficient punishment.
“Publicising it further could constitute a second punishment, which is unfair for a single crime, but further could entice a retaliation; and having suffered two vandal attacks already during lockdown we don’t want any more.
“One of our vehicles has suffered damage that we are going to have to take time out to repair, whilst a store room has also had paints and other bits thrown around it after a late night visit.”
Churnet Valley Railway is set to be back up and running from August 1 after temporary closure during the coronavirus lockdown.
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