Page last updated at 00:07 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 01:07 UK

Railway crime 'hotspots' revealed

Railway vandals
Crimes like trespass, vandalism and theft are the most common

The 10 areas worst affected by rail crime in Scotland have been identified, with figures showing about 2,000 offences were committed last year.

Newton in South Lanarkshire, Edinburgh's Waverley Station and Stepps in North Lanarkshire were named as the worst three areas for rail crime.

Network Rail said trespass, vandalism and theft of track material was among the most common crimes committed.

The list was released as part of Network Rail's No Messin' campaign.

The summer-long initiative aims to raise awareness among youngsters about the dangers of playing near railways and is being launched in Alloa, the location of Scotland's newest stretch of track.

According to the latest figures, 56 people were killed in accidents on Britain's railway network in 2007, with 256 deaths in the last five years.

Of those killed, one in four were aged between eight and 18.

'Take root'

There were also 806 near-misses with trains, half involving children.

Despite the continuing problem, Network Rail said the figures were falling.

In the first half of 2007 there were 24 crimes, mostly of trespass, reported at Newton in South Lanarkshire, that figure compares with just four for the same period this year.

At Edinburgh Waverley, the number also dropped from 13 to eight.

Only the city's Haymarket station saw criminal activity increase from nine instances to 10.

Newton, Glasgow
Edinburgh Waverley
Braidhurst, North Lanarkshire
Priesthill & Darnley
South Gyle
Network Rail said the figures were proof that targeted safety campaigns were bearing fruit.

Mark Henderson, the company's rail crime education manager for Scotland, said: "Railway crime is a major issue for Network Rail and is at its peak during the school summer holidays

"We have been using a combination of prevention, prosecution and education to tackle the issue.

"But we know that showing the consequences to young people isn't enough.

"The No Messin' Live! event will offer young people positive alternatives to playing on or near the railway. We want to stamp out railway crime in the area before it has a chance to take root."

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