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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 December 2006, 09:47 GMT
Officers target railway vandals
Graffiti
Graffiti attacks at rail depots and stables increase at Christmas
Extra patrols of Scotland's rail network are to be carried out over the festive period in a bid to combat graffiti vandals.

A national day of action on Wednesday has already seen a number of known vandals arrested by police.

The operation, codenamed Silverback, will see officers from the British Transport Police checking on depots.

Last year, 31 graffiti attacks were recorded on Christmas Day across the UK, compared with 11 on 25 November.

'Real danger'

From Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, 63 attacks were recorded compared with 20 over the same three days in November.

BTP said 10 known vandals had already been arrested in Scotland as part of the crackdown.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim McKelvie, of the Scottish area of British Transport Police, said: "There are virtually no train movements on Christmas Day, but we know these vandals will try to take advantage of the hiatus on the rail system to commit criminal damage that costs rail companies thousands of pounds.

"These people are putting themselves in real danger. Even when there are no passenger services, there are still some train movements, and overhead cables and the third rail remain live at all times."

He added: "Some people like to debate the artistic merits of graffiti but that's an irrelevant question. It is the cost to rail industry and inconvenience to passengers when trains have to taken out of service."


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