SOUTHEND FOOTBALL FANS GIVE RAILWAY CRIME THE RED CARD: Southend United Cheque Presentation

Monday 7 Aug 2006

SOUTHEND FOOTBALL FANS GIVE RAILWAY CRIME THE RED CARD

Region & Route:
Anglia
Eastern
As the new football season kicked off this weekend, Network Rail joined forces with Southend United to help kick railway crime into touch. Network Rail presented the club with a cheque for £15,000 before Saturday’s game against Stoke City. The money will fund a series of visits to local schools by Network Rail’s education team and Southend United’s Football in the Community team to help tackle trespass and vandalism on the railway. The visits will give local youngsters a chance to try out their football skills while also learning more about railway safety. Network Rail’s Route Director Jon Wiseman said: “Every year hundreds of young people risk their lives by trespassing on the tracks and unfortunately the railway around Southend is a problem area. Our visits to local schools are a great way for us to encourage young people to get involved in healthy activities, such as football, instead of risking their lives on the railway. It was great to see so many young faces at the game and I hope they’ll join us in kicking railway crime firmly into touch.” Some 26 schools were visited last year and this year marks the fifth year of the scheme with Southend United which has proved very popular with schoolchildren around the Southend area. The scheme also ties-in with Network Rail’s No Messin’! campaign, launched earlier this year by boxer Amir Khan, which aims to educate young people about the dangers of trespassing on the railway and encourage them to get involved in more productive activities, like boxing and football. For more information go to www.no-messin.com

Notes to editors

- Caption for photo: Network Rail’s Route Director Jon Wiseman (3rd left) presents a cheque for £15,000 to Frank Banks, Southend United’s Senior Football in the Community Officer (centre) and Southend United’s Che Wilson (3rd right) - Also pictured in photo – Southend United Mascot Sammy the Shrimp (left); Network Rail’s Railway Crime Education Manager Gemma Jennings (2nd left); Network Rail’s Mobile Operations Manager Peter Lucas (2nd right) and Southend United Mascot Elvis J. Eel (right) - There have been more than 20 incidents of railway trespass and vandalism around Southend so far this year including: • 17 January – Children ‘surfing’ on the back of a train approaching Southend East Station • 13 February - A youth trespassing on the tracks at Southend Victoria station and involved in a ‘near-miss’ with an oncoming train • 21 April - Trespassers on the railway grafitti-ing the bridge at Southend Central Station • 22 April - Children trespassing on the tracks at Southend Victoria station and setting off fireworks • 10 June - Reports of six youths on the tracks in Westcliff near Southend Cliffs Pavilion • 16 June - Youths setting fire to trackside hut at Southend Victoria station - Some facts and figures about railway crime: • Trains travel at up to 125mph and can take the length of 20 football pitches to stop • Up to 60 people are killed on the railway each year by taking short cuts or messing around on the tracks - don’t be one of them • Trains are powered by electricity through the rails and overhead lines. It is always switched on and can jump through the air or other objects – if you get too close it can kill - Railway crime costs Network Rail £264 million per year - A railway crime is committed every 90 seconds in peak periods and each year there are an estimated 27 million cases of trespass; 640,000 objects placed on the line; and four million objects thrown at trains

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