Rail line danger pair’s guilty plea

A train blocked at Lytham station.

A train blocked at Lytham station.

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TWO men who caused “significant disruption” to the rail system by putting concrete drain covers on the line have both been detained by a court.

Luke Beezer, now 18, formerly of Dock Road, Lytham, and Darren Townsend, 21, of Dock Road, Lytham, had pleaded guilty to endangering the safety of railway passengers.

Preston Crown Court heard almost £9,000 of damage was caused to a train on the track near Lytham station last summer.

The driver of the Northern Rail diesel train – heading to Blackpool South station at 5am on July 12 – was shaken up by the impact. It was the first service and was carrying no passengers. The two carriage train was also not derailed, but it was disabled and cost £8,800 to repair.

Fluid and concrete pieces were also found over the tracks.

Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said the driver had been about two hundred yards from Lytham station when he saw something on the right hand track, on top of the rail head.

“He thought at first it was a plastic bag, but as he got nearer, realised it was something more substantial. He applied the brakes, but couldn’t stop in time,” she said.

“He felt a loud thud. It felt as if the whole front of the train was lifted up in the air.

“After less than a second there was a second impact, also with a thudding sound.”

The defendants were traced through CCTV at a pub, adjacent to the station.

Paul Robinson, defending, accepted it was a very serious offence which must have been a very frightening experience for the driver.

Both were immature, but had admitted their involvement in interview and had pleaded guilty at an early stage of the proceedings.

Beezer, who was 17 at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty and was given four months detention and training, while Townsend received four months prison.

Judge Jonathan Gibson, sentencing, said: “The consequences of what you did could have been far much more serious.”

Insp Adrian Yorston, of British Transport Police, said: “The actions of these men are quite unbelievable.

“The sentences reflect the serious nature of the offence.”

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