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Rail cops get bikes in bid to catch train yobs

PUBLISHED: 18:04 29 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 October 2010

Rail cop ready for action... on a motorbike

Rail cop ready for action... on a motorbike

RAIL cops are turning to powerful motorbikes to catch yobs who’ve been throwing stones at Underground trains in East London. They are cracking the whip in Operation Rhino’ over a wide area from West Ham to Dagenham during the school summer holidays. The target is youths trespassing on the District Line where the tracks run in the open

RAIL cops are turning to powerful motorbikes to catch yobs who've been throwing stones at Underground trains in East London.

They are cracking the whip in 'Operation Rhino' over a wide area from West Ham to Dagenham during the school summer holidays.

The target is youths trespassing on the District Line where the tracks run in the open.

The aim is to prevent another outbreak of stone-throwing and yob behaviour including leaving debris on the railway and under-age drinking.

"These offences usually increase during holidays," said British Transport Police Chief Ins Duncan Manners, based at West Ham.

"A rock dropped onto a train from a bridge or hurled through a train window can cause serious injury to passengers and staff as well as cause delays."

He added: "Trespassers put their lives at risk as well.

"Trains can't swerve and can't stop suddenly. The railway is no playground."

Operation Rhino involves motorcycle patrols along the tracks and through nearby parkland, as well as helicopter and bicycle patrols to make sure every part of the sections of the Underground system can be reached.

The off-road motorcycles and mountain bikes means officers can cross parkland in quick time, should they get reports of offences committed in hard-to-reach areas.

Officers will be working with other police in three parks in the Dagenham-Barking area, Parsloes Park, Beam Valley Country Park and Mayesbrook Park, as well as the grounds of Barking Hospital, which are all alongside the District Line tracks.

Another area receiving police attention is Five Arches near Debden station on the Central Line.

Police are also distributing crime prevention leaflets and magnets to premises near the lines to encourage people to contact them if they see yobs throwing stones or trespassing on the tracks.

A hotline has been set up on 0800-405040, while anonymous calls can also be made to Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.

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