PITSEA has been named as the trespass hotspot of the year after 116 incidents were recorded at level crossings in 2018/19.

It comes as a new scheme to tackle the increasing number of people in Basildon and Thurrock risking their lives on the railway has been launched.

Network Rail has teamed up with British Transport Police, the English Football League Trust and StreetGames as figures have shown the number of people taking potentially fatal risks is on the up.

Bosses have revealed, nationally, there are 250 incidents a week of people messing about on the lines, taking short cuts and even selfies.

As well as shaming Pitsea, the figures also show Thurrock had 151 trespass incidents - the largest number for a local authority in East Anglia - with 12 of those involving young people. Basildon had 134.

Southend United is one of the league clubs to get on board with the initiative.

Rupert Lown, Anglia’s director of health, safety quality and environment (HSQE), said: “Children, and adults alike, continue to risk their lives by going onto the track and it has to stop. Last year,1645 people in Anglia went on the railway and each one could be a potential catastrophe leading to life-changing injuries or even death.

“Sport is a powerful vehicle for communicating with this hard-to-reach audience. Working in partnership with these sports charities across the hotspots in Essex, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Enfield, we hope to be able to reach children and teens in those communities most at risk with this incredibly important safety message.”

As well as Basildon and Thurrock, Southend also falls into the ‘top ten’ of local authorities. In 2018/19, 31 incidents were recorded.