On Thursday, March 4, 2004, the Post reported that...

DALMUIR railway station is the FIFTH worst in Scotland for vandalism, according to train authority Network Rail.

And local residents can expect information to fall through their letterboxes on the subject as part of a major crackdown on trackside crime.

The area will be one of 19 in Scotland to be subject to a leaflet drop as part of a ‘Route Crime’ education programme.

But despite the station ranking unfavourably in the report, Inspector Stuart Wilson of the British Transport Police said the problem did not just lie there.

He said: “What we have is a Dalmuir office, which covers one particular area. It must not be the Dalmuir station which is the problem, but the area in general that it encompasses.

“We are absolutely in favour of the leaflet drop. We work closely with the different rail companies and we work very pro-actively on offences such as trespassing and vandalism.”

One of the leaflets will ask parents “Where is your child?”, while revealing that 90 per cent of crime on the railway is committed by younger people.

Children as young as 12 have been reported to be seen trespassing on tracks.

Inspector Wilson continued: “We are building up to the lighter nights and we would urge parents to be aware of where their children are in the evening.”

Another leaflet will give the phone number for the Transport Police - 0800 40 50 40.

People are asked to call that number if they witness any act of trespassing or vandalism on the railway.

The two offences cost £10m every year throughout Scotland, despite a 16 per cent reduction during the 2002/03 period.

Motherwell was named as vandals’ favourite haunt on Scotland’s rail network, with Springburn, in Glasgow, coming second.

Ron McAulay, regional director of Network Rail in Scotland, said: “It is imperative that people understand just how dangerous it is to take a short cut or cause damage to the railway.

“It is not only a criminal offence, but seriously endangers their own lives and those of passengers and staff.

“The railway track is not a playground or a short cut and acts of vandalism pose a real threat to hundreds of passengers every day.”