Police vow to get tough on drunken teens who dice with death

Local residents cleared up the mess
Local residents cleared up the mess

Police have vowed to get tough on teens who risk their lives by crossing a north-east Fife railway line while under the influence of drink.

Over the May bank holiday weekend, some 40 youths gathered in South Annsmuir Woods, near Ladybank, causing misery for local residents with their noise and anti-social behaviour.

They were seen drinking, urinating and setting fire to trees, leaving a trail of destruction that villagers were left to clear up.

It was thought they gained entry to the area via the emergency access to the railway line situated on Golf Street, Ladybank – with many having been dropped off in cars and clearly in possession of alcohol.

Almost eight years ago, 16-year-old Natalie Mulholland, from Springfield, died when she was hit by a train at a level crossing on the same line.

“Youths are putting themselves in considerable danger by accessing the railway line, especially when they are under the influence of alcohol,” said a spokesman for Police Scotland.

“This behaviour will not be tolerated and robust action will be taken.”

Following the most recent incident, which happened on the evening of April 28, community officers for the Ladybank area have liaised closely with partner agencies including Bell Baxter High School, British Transport Police and Fife Council community ward officers in a bid to prevent the recurrence of such behaviour and ensure the safety and wellbeing of both local residents and the youths themselves.

“Not only does this behaviour have a detrimental effect on local residents and the general area, but the youths are putting themselves in considerable danger by accessing the railway line, especially while under the influence of alcohol,” said the spokesman.

“It is imperative that as a community we act together to provide education as to the possible consequences of such behaviour, not only in terms of serious injury and potential death but also in terms of any criminal charges should crimes and offences be identified.”

South Annsmuir Woods, a beauty spot that’s popular with dog walkers, has become notorious as a drinking den for more than a decade.

In order to reach it, people have to cross the main Ladybank/Perth line.

Anyone with any information about the most recent incident is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.