A NEW operation to tackle train line trespassers is underway after children were seen dawdling on a crossing in Westcliff.

The British Transport Police have launched Operation Intruder as they try to kerb the 2,400 tresspass incidents they have been called to just between April and June this year.

In Westcliff British Transport Police had to give safety advice to school children after they were alerted to three children playing on a crossing.

Of all the cases the police have been called to in the first three months of the year, more than half involved people aged 25 or younger.

In the coming weeks BTP officers will target trespassers at problematic locations around the country. They will carry out increased patrols in a bid to try to ward off would-be trespassers who either think the track is a place to hang out or commit vandalism.

BTP is enlisting the help of Essex police and the rail industry and will even resort to using helicopters to report trespassers. BTP officers will also report any damage to railway property, such as broken fences, so it can be repaired, helping to stop people gaining access to the track.

Chief Inspector Tom Naughton said: “Children and young adults need to understand the dangers of the railway.

“While taking trespassers through the courts remains open to BTP, the main focus of this campaign is prevention – stopping people getting on the track in the first place.

“Our officers have already visited a number of schools to warn children, face-to-face, of the dangers of straying onto the railway.

“We need parents to play their part, too – making children aware of how dangerous a place the railway can be.”