British Transport Police have released images of people wanted for trespassing near rail lines to catch a closer glimpse of the Flying Scotsman as it passed through Northumberland last month.
The images were taken from a helicopter operated by Network Rail, which was used as part of a police and safety operation during the iconic steam train's journey between Newcastle and Edinburgh on Saturday, May 14.
Despite repeated warnings about the dangers, a number of Flying Scotsman fans ignored British Transport Police and rail industry pleas and trespassed on the tracks, risking their lives to view the train, say the police.
Now, they want to trace the people responsible.
The Flying Scotsman’s inaugural journey from London King’s Cross to York on February 25 was greeted by thousands of people lining the route. But the day was marred by several dangerous incidents of trespass – where members of the public were seen walking along the tracks and taking photographs of the Flying Scotsman, while other trains continued to pass on opposing lines.
Following these incidents, and to ensure the safety of those wanting to see the Flying Scotsman on its future movements around the country, extensive planning discussions were held with the rail industry, a significant policing operation was put in place and a communications campaign was undertaken to educate and warn people about the risks.
Chief Inspector David Oram, from British Transport Police, said: “Our priority is the safety of the public, passengers and rail staff. We understand that steam specials generate lots of interest and the movements of the restored Flying Scotsman are attracting unprecedented levels of attention from all sections of the public.
"But despite our advice and numerous warnings over the past few weeks, people have put themselves at risk by standing too close to the rail lines, giving little thought to the potential dangers and any offences they might be committing. Not only is this extremely dangerous but it has resulted in the train being delayed."
“In order to keep the public safe, we will enforce the law where appropriate, which is why we are releasing the images of people trespassing today in a bid to trace those responsible. If you recognise yourself or any of the people pictured in the images please contact us.
“We will continue to identify and take action against trespassers on future journeys to ensure that these pass safely and free from disruption. Our aim is that members of the public are able to enjoy these great events by understanding the dangers, being responsible, staying within the law and most importantly - keeping safe.”
Rob McIntosh, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “While I must thank the vast majority of people who have been out to see Flying Scotsman for staying safe, it is deeply worrying to see people standing trackside.
"Tens of thousands of people have been out to see this railway icon on its tour of the country so far, but even one person trespassing is one too many. The threat of serious injury is real, as well as causing delays to passengers travelling on other services, and we will continue to work very closely with the British Transport Police to keep our railway safe and to make sure spectators remember their day out for all the right reasons.”
Do you recognise any of the people pictured? Call 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016, quoting reference 314 of 2/6 and the photo number.
The pictures, from top to bottom, were taken at Alnmouth (PICTURE 1); High Buston, Alnmouth (PICTURE 2); Warkworth (PICTURE 5); Windside Hill Road, Northumberland (PICTURE 6).