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MP Laura Sandys and British Transport Police warns young people of the dangers of playing on level crossings

By Emily Stott

MP Laura Sandys and the British Transport Police are warning young people in Sandwich over the dangers of playing on level crossings.

The MP launched an investigation after listening to concerns raised by pupils at Sandwich Junior School.

They explained that other young people have been spotted ducking under the train gates when a train is due and playing “chicken” on the line.

Ms Sandys said: “I was pleased that the pupils at Sandwich Junior School raised the issue of level crossing safety, and it was clear that they recognise just how serious an issue this is.”

The pupils told the MP they were aware of other children playing on the White Mill crossing on Ash Road and that this had recently become a serious problem.

Ms Sandys asked Network Rail for a review of the crossing. She said: “We also have to ensure that young people in particular are well informed about the risk to life that level crossings pose.”

Ms Sandys has contacted the British Transport Police to kick-start a local educational campaign, and Insp Michael Pastor has issued a warning to the young people of Sandwich.

“The railway is not a playground and those who fail to heed this advice can expect to find themselves being prosecuted, or worse." - Insp Pastor.

He said: “The railway is not a playground and those who fail to heed this advice can expect to find themselves being prosecuted, or worse.

“While reported incidents at these locations are very rare, we place a great emphasis, in conjunction with Network Rail, on educating young people around the dangers on the railway.”

Insp Pastor explained that the rail network can be a very dangerous place and should be treated with caution.

He also urged parents to teach their children about the dangers, saying: “You might think walking over the crossing when the barriers are down or the lights are flashing is merely a quick shortcut, but this is simply not the case.

"Together with colleagues from Network Rail, we will continue to visit local schools in the area in a bid to educate young people and show them the danger of acting irresponsibly on the railway.”

Trespassing on the railway is a criminal offence and can carry a fine up to £1,000. National Rail claims the majority of these trespassers are aged eight to 16.

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