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British Transport Police

Week of action to reinforce face covering regulations on public transport

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Transport for Wales and the British Transport Police are collaborating on a week of action across the Welsh rail network to remind customers face coverings must still be worn on public transport.

It follows the Welsh Government’s move to alert level zero from Saturday 7 August.

As a result of the change to alert level zero, TfW has updated its guidance to passengers and face coverings will no longer be required to be worn on uncovered station platforms.

But face coverings remain mandatory on public transport in Wales, unless exempt, and in covered areas such as station buildings, cafes, toilets and waiting rooms.

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change with a responsibility for transport said: “As we slowly start to get our lives back on track, we mustn’t forget that Covid hasn’t gone away. The scientific evidence is clear, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, such as public transport, reduces the spread of the virus.

“Transport for Wales has kept its services running throughout the pandemic and continue to take steps to keep travellers safe. By continuing to wear face coverings, we can all play our part to keep Wales safe.”

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British Transport Police and Cardiff Central Station (Image: Transport for Wales)

Since the start of 2021, TfW, BTP and partner security agency staff have challenged more than 50,000 people across the Wales and Borders network for not wearing face coverings and refused travel to more than 2,000.

Leyton Powell, Safety and Sustainability Director at TfW, said: Leyton Powell, Safety and Sustainability Director at TfW, said: “As restrictions ease, we want to reassure our customers that their safety remains our priority and that unless exempt, face coverings must still be worn on public transport.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in the number of people not wearing face coverings and we are going to use this opportunity to engage with people and reinforce the message that wearing a face covering helps to protect you and your fellow passengers, some of whom may be anxious about a return to public transport.

“TfW and BTP staff will be interacting with passengers, and we’ll have a number of automated messages at stations and on-board services. We’re also enhancing our messaging on social media and when people buy tickets through our website and app.

“We also have every available carriage in service to provide as much capacity as possible on the network.”

British Transport Police at Swansea Train Station (Image: British Transport Police)

The week of action from Wednesday 11th to Wednesday 18th August will see TfW and BTP staff target key areas where face covering compliance has fallen in recent months. This includes services to Barry Island, the North and West Wales coasts and on lines to the Rhymney Valley, Maesteg and Treherbert.

British Transport Police Chief Inspector Jon Cooze said: “As has been the case throughout the pandemic, our officers will continue with the ‘4Es’ approach of engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce any Coronavirus legal requirements.

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“As our jurisdiction covers three countries our officers police different laws every day, including throughout the pandemic, and are used to dealing with any challenges this presents.”

(Lead image: Transport for Wales)

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British Transport Police

Police want to speak with this man after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted on train to Llanelli

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British Transport Police have released a photo of a man they want to speak with after a teenage girl was reportedly sexually assaulted in a “prolonged” attack.

The attack took place on a Heart of Wales line train between Llandovery and Llanelli.

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A spokesperson from British Transport Police said: “At 4.40pm on Saturday 26 March, a teenage girl boarded the train and sat opposite a man on a table seat. The man then proceeded to sexually assault her.

“Officers believe the man in the image may have information which could help their investigation.

“If you recognise him, or have any information, please contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 538 of 26/03/22.

“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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British Transport Police

Over two years in jail for man who shut down the South Wales mainline and caused £50K worth of disruption

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A man who significantly damaged railway equipment at Bridgend, causing the South Wales mainline to shut down, has been jailed following a British Transport Police investigation.

Stephen Mulcahy, 42, and of Erw Hir, Bridgend, was found guilty of two counts of burglary, damage to property, and going equipped for theft. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison at Swansea Crown Court on 11 March.

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The court heard how at just after midnight on Friday 16 April 2021, Mulcahy arrived at Bridgend railway station with his dog and called the railway switchboard to enquire about train times.

A little while later, CCTV shows Mulcahy jumping from the platform onto the tracks with his dog and walking towards a railway compound.

At around 5am, Network Rail reported a power outage on the railway and suspicions grew as workers noticed a key was missing and a door to the generator building was left open.

Officers arrived on scene and found a rucksack on the platform containing rubber gloves and a set of bolt croppers.

Upon searching the compound, officers caught Mulcahy coming out of a building carrying metal signs. He claimed he was in the building looking for his dog, who had come off the lead, and asked officers if he could keep the signs which he had found.

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He was arrested, and upon search, officers found a pair of scissors and set of keys for the generator building in his pocket.

Significant damage had been caused in the building, including several cables pulled from their termination points, which triggered the loss of power to the railway signalling.

The damage to railway equipment affected 33 trains, delayed the network for a total of 1,209 minutes and cost the railway £53,561 in disruption. Over £5,000 in damage repairs was also caused to the compound.

The history of the power supply indicated the damage to the cabling occurred at approximately 4am and CCTV and forensics placed Mulcahy at the scene.

Sign stolen by Mulcahy (Image: BTP)
Bolt cutters Mulcahy had been carrying (Image: BTP)
Damage caused to the cabling system (Image: BTP)

BTP Detective Constable Dan Murdoch said: “This was a determined act which cost the railway thousands of pounds and caused significant disruption to passengers, including to key workers who may have relied on public transport in the middle of the pandemic.

“These sentences demonstrate just how seriously the courts take such incidents, and we hope this will give Mulcahy time to reflect on his actions and stop him from committing similar offences in the future.

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“We are committed to tackling all forms of criminal damage and work closely with Network Rail and other industry partners to make the railway a difficult place for these criminals to operate.”

Bill Kelly, Wales & Borders route director at Network Rail said: “This was a mindless and incomprehensible act of vandalism that had very serious consequences for the railway in South Wales and beyond – affecting our passengers and freight customers and wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money.

“The sentence handed down sends a powerful signal: these crimes won’t go unpunished, and I’d like to pay tribute to the Network Rail colleagues involved and the British Transport Police. This conviction demonstrates the strength of our partnership across Wales and Borders as we work together to stamp out crime on the rail network.”

(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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British Transport Police

Life-saving defibrillators at train stations damaged

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British Transport Police are warning of the consequences of damaging defibrillators after a spate of vandalism at train stations across Wales.

Defibrillators, which are used to give a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, were recently installed at several stations by Transport for Wales.

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Since their instillation, seven incidents of defibrillators being damaged or stolen have been reported in the last nine months at locations including Pencoed, Ninian Park, Briton Ferry, Sarn, Llandeilio and Llandudno.

British Transport Police Officers are patrolling stations and cameras have been installed to capture incidents and pursue prosecution against any offenders. Defibrillators have also been locked in cabinets to prevent theft or damage.

According to British Heart Foundation Cymru, there are around 2,800 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Wales each year, but just 1 in 20 people survive.

Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent, but immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.

British Transport Police Inspector Richard Powell said: “Lives are being put at risk by people who steal and vandalise defibrillators.

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“Offenders should think how they would feel if they themselves, or their relatives, were unable to be saved because of equipment being out of order due to vandalism or theft.

“If anyone witnesses anything suspicious on the railway, text us on 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.”

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director for Transport for Wales, said: “It is extremely disappointing that within weeks of the first phase of life-saving defibrillators being installed at TfW railway stations, a number have been vandalised and will now need to be repaired.

“The defibrillators are a vital tool for the whole community and this vandalism is putting people’s lives at risk.

“A cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages and the use of a defibrillator can greatly increase someone’s chance of survival. It’s important the defibrillators are available in key locations, such as railway stations, and in good working order.

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“We ask anyone who sees a defibrillator being damaged to call the British Transport Police immediately.”

Tomos Hughes, a Public Access Defibrillator Support Officer at the Welsh Ambulance Service, explained: “Once somebody suffers a cardiac arrest every minute counts. They need immediate CPR from those around them as well as a shock from a defibrillator.

“It’s so disappointing to hear about devices which have been stolen or damaged, which is basically putting lives at risk. If you’re that vandal, imagine if it were a member of your family in cardiac arrest who needed that defibrillator – how would you feel if it wasn’t available? Don’t be that person. We would urge anyone with information to contact police.”

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, added: “Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest, and, alongside CPR, prompt use of a defibrillator is critical in giving them the best chance of survival. To put it simply – access to a defibrillator could be the difference between life and death, and anyone who vandalises a defibrillator is putting lives at risk.”

(Lead image: British Transport Police)

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