Summer crusade against motorway youths

Lethal dangers of motorway
Lethal dangers of motorway

WIGAN youths will get a visit from police if spotted dicing with death by using the region’s motorways as playgrounds.

The North West Motorway Police Group is stepping up activity over the school summer holidays and urging children to stay away from these lethal highways.

It may seem astonishing to readers that such a campaign is even needed, but police say there have been youngsters seen walking and playing on carriageways and hard shoulders in the past. Police patrols will be on the prowl and CCTV cameras constantly monitored for incidents.

This will continue throughout the school holidays in order to drive home the motorway safety message.

Highways Agency traffic officers are based in the Highways Agency’s North West Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows, just off junction 23 of the M6.

Matt Sweeting, the Highways Agency’s regional Asset Delivery Manager, said: “We work very hard through our own staff and with other agencies throughout the year to get the safety message across, but as well as safety awareness we are out all the time checking and improving physical measures to prevent people coming onto the motorway network.

“However, parents have a key role in reminding children of the dangers and the sometimes tragic consequences of playing on or near the motorway network.”

It isn’t just youths which are being targeted, adults are also warned to stay away as an increase of ‘pedestrian on the network’ incidents are more common during summer.

Insp Andy Chandler, in charge of the NWMPG, said: “With the long school holidays about to begin we just want to remind parents and children of the dangers of playing on or near the motorway network.

“Children are particularly poor at appreciating the dangers within the motorway environment and judging the size and speed of vehicles using our motorways.

“We want to get the message across that the motorway is no place to play and the best way to avoid horseplay turning into a tragedy is to stay well away.”

Mr Chandler stresses the hard safety measures are for the protection of the public as people are often likely to take shortcuts across the motorway, ending in tragic consequences.

Fines of £30 are imposed for any trespassers.