Wigan man jailed for obstructing railway and causing £9k of delays

A Wigan man who caused 13 trains to be delayed when he walked onto the railway line has been jailed.

Network Rail said the total cost of the delays caused by 36-year-old Stephen Harrell was £9,223.90.

Harrell, of Springfield Street, Swinley, pleaded guilty to obstructing the railway and has now been sentenced to 270 days in jail at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court. He was also ordered to pay £250 compensation.

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Stephen Harrell, aged 36, of Springfield Street, Swinley, pleaded guilty to obstructing the railway

The court heard how, on Sunday, July 31, British Transport Police were made aware of an incident of trespass at Salford Crescent station.

An officer attended and saw an intoxicated Harrell jump down from the platform onto the tracks and begin walking in the direction of Swinton.

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A stop on all trains was put in place and the NPAS police helicopter was dispatched to locate Harrell, after officers lost sight of him on the tracks due to darkness.

He was eventually spotted by the helicopter and found rummaging through a bin outside a pub on Agecroft Road, Swinton.

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Harrell was on the tracks and lineside for approximately 60 minutes, causing delays of 287 minutes and 13 trains to be stopped.

Investigating officer PC Peter Hogg said: "Harrell's irresponsible and frankly reckless actions could have cost him his life.

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"In order to protect his safety, numerous trains were stopped, causing completely unnecessary delays and inconvenience to passengers and a huge cost to Network Rail, not to mention the cost of deploying the police helicopter.

"The behaviour of one individual had a huge impact on others. Being intoxicated is no excuse."