Preston train station is Lancashire hotspot for rail worker abuse

FIGURES: Preston train station has seen a rise in abuse against staff since last year
FIGURES: Preston train station has seen a rise in abuse against staff since last year
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British Transport Police figures have shown that Preston train station is the county’s hot-spot for rail worker abuse.

The number of incidents in Preston has risen by two-thirds in the last year, and it has overtaken Blackpool North in the statistics.

The BTP were called to nine incidents of people using threatening words or behaviour to train staff at Preston station between April 2012 and March 2013.

But between April 2013 to March 2014, that figure leapt to 15 people.

Just last month, Glenn Patterson, 49, of Turton Court, Bolton, was found guilty by Preston Magistrates’ Court of breaching Section Four of the Public Order Act, after abusing a railway worker at Preston station.

Patterson verbally abused inspector Andrew Matthews on May 31 this year, after Mr Matthews had questioned him about his train ticket.

Patterson was trying to travel from Blackpool North to Bolton but Mr Matthews ordered him to get off at Preston station because he did not have the right ticket. He was given a four-month curfew with £50 compensation and £200 costs.

West Coast Main Line (North) Insp Adrian Yorsten said today that BTP will not tolerate aggression of any kind.

He said: “We continue to take a hard-line approach. “We will arrest, prosecute and possibly ban from rail 
services anyone who uses 
violence against rail staff.”

And Insp Yorsten believes the hike in incidents is mainly due to ticket quarrels.

He said: “The majority of offences against rail staff arise from a minor issue such as staff challenging an individual with an incorrect ticket.”

The high footfall at a number of these stations puts the figures into perspective.

But overall figures of the wider Preston area, which includes Chorley, Blackpool North and Blackburn, have dropped slightly from 52 in 2012-13 to 50 in 2013-14.

Insp Yorsten urged more railway workers to report crimes. He said: “We encourage rail staff to report instances of physical and verbal aggression directed towards them, even if they perceive it to be ‘minor’. Officers are often out and about at stations in a bid to deter abusive behaviour and reassure staff.”