MP's concern about railway vandalism

By Sharon AsplinAN MP has expressed his "extreme" concern about the impact that yob culture and vandalism are having on the region's railways.Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Harwich, was speaking after meeting Tim Clarke, managing director of One railways.

By Sharon Asplin

AN MP has expressed his "extreme" concern about the impact that yob culture and vandalism are having on the region's railways.

Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Harwich, was speaking after meeting Tim Clarke, managing director of One railways.

Mr Carswell had called the meeting to pass on fears about train services following discussions with rail users.


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He said: "It was a productive meeting. I was frank and open and passed on local rail users' concerns. In return, One gave me an honest assessment of what they are trying to do to improve things.

"I was extremely concerned, however, to hear from One about the impact that yob culture and vandalism are having on our railways."

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Mr Carswell said Mr Clarke had told him that recently trains had been vandalised while parked in the Clacton sidings and One now had to employ its own security guards. He now intends to raise the matter with police.

He added: "In the short time that I've been a member of parliament, I've met numerous people concerned about their safety on the trains. I understand that those supposedly responsible for the repeat vandalism are known to the police."

A spokeswoman for One said it worked closely with British Transport Police to stamp out crime and anti-social behaviour directed against trains and passengers.

"We do have our own security guards employed, but we try to work with the police and make sure every incident is reported so we help them understand the problems as they arise," she said.

"Sometimes when people are caught we find they are youngsters, so we go out and talk to them and give them the reasons why they should not be doing what they are doing – often it's about trying to educate people about how dangerous their actions are."

The spokeswoman said Clacton did not attract any more problems than other location, but added that during the school holidays more minor incidents, such as trespass and graffiti attacks, increased everywhere.

"In monetary terms, vandalism could cause thousands of pounds of damage to our rolling stock so we invest money in security guards to tackle it. Hoping, we will save in the long term," she said.

Acting Sgt Paul Thompson, of Ipswich-based British Transport Police, said: "We are actively collecting evidence for future anti-social behaviour orders for known individuals causing problems on the Clacton line.

"We work closely with One railways and other agencies to try to combat anti-social behaviour and ensure people travel safely."

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

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