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Saturday, 12 July 2014

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Booze ban on Cumbrian train service after police officer attacked

Rail bosses have banned alcohol on a Carlisle to Whitehaven train after a police officer was attacked.

Northern Rail train photo

Northern Rail said the 9.45pm service would now be a ‘dry train’ after recent reports of problems, including an attack on a British Transport Police (BTP) officer and another passenger.

Martyn Guiver, head of crime management for Northern, said they had been working with BTP on “managing issues” on some later Saturday services and seen crime halve.

“On rare occasions we do have to use additional powers available to us and, as a result of one of our BTP officers being assaulted, have now made this a ‘dry train’,” he said.

“We have a handful of dry trains in place already that successfully reduce the amount of antisocial behaviour on board and bring peace of mind to both our customers and our employees.”

Inspector Garry Ashbridge, of British Transport Police, said they had received a number of calls about issues on the service in recent months.

“Criminal and antisocial behaviour simply will not be tolerated and BTP officers will be on hand to assist our colleagues at Northern Rail to deal with anyone who causes problems," he said.

A spokesman for BTP said a man had appeared at court in relation to the assaults on the officer and passenger and received a suspended prison sentence.

He reassured passengers that officers would continue to patrol the service.

“It is one of several that we have officers on,” the spokesman added.

The rail firm banned alcohol from its 7.25pm Newcastle to Carlisle Saturday service in June, after it was plagued by drunken yobs behaving badly. The train that follows it has already been ‘dry’ for some time.

British Transport Police said there had been six criminal offences and four reports of antisocial behaviour on the train since the start of the year.

The RMT transport union said a number of its members “dreaded” going to work on Saturday nights and had called for industrial action.

Insp Ashbridge said anyone who was believed to have drunk too much or who caused disruption at the station would not be allowed on board.

“Similarly, anyone who is seen drinking alcohol on the train will be reported and removed from the service at the next station,” he said.

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