Parents and carers are being urged to make sure they know their children’s whereabouts amid concerns over groups of youths travelling across the rail network, despite tough lockdown rules.

Officers at the British Transport Police (BTP) say they are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of youngsters who are flouting Covid regulations by travelling unaccompanied on trains.

Operations to identify and protect these children have been up and running since January, with kids as young as 12 found to be travelling well out of their local authority area.

Officers have said young people who are caught travelling unaccompanied on the rail network in breach of lockdown rules will either be collected by their parents and carers or, in some cases, returned home.

Inspector Chris Shields added: “We urge parents and carers to ensure they know where their children are and have conversations with them to remind them of the Covid guidelines that are currently in place.

“The railway is not a playground and large groups of youths as young as 12 years old have resulted in increased patrols to ensure there is safeguarding in place for children and young people who are travelling on the network.”

Inspector Shields has also urged members of the public to play their part in making sure children are not in danger.

“We all have a responsibility to protect vulnerable children in our community,” he said. “I would encourage people to be on the lookout for young people who might need help and report any concerns they may have so we can make sure they don’t come to any harm.

“Passengers continue to be our eyes and ears and they can help us by reporting crimes and concerns by texting 61016.”

Earlier this year, BTP joined forces with children’s charity Barnardo’s to support the See, Hear and Respond campaign, which aims to provide access to immediate support for children and their families who may be struggling with the consequences of Covid-19 and wider problems.

For more information, visit