CHILDREN as young as eight have been ‘dicing with death’ after being caught playing on railway lines.

British Transport Police have issued a safety warning after an eight-year-old boy was caught on the line in Accrington and three boys age nine, 12 ad 15 were seen on the line near Burnham Gate, Burnley.

None of the children were with their parents at the time and officers said nobody was injured in the incidents.

BTP officers took the children home and spoke to them in front of their parents about the danger they had put themselves and rail users in.

A BTP spokesman said the Accrington incident happened around 5pm on Tuesday and the incident in Burnley was at 4pm on Saturday.

Last year there were 1,142 incidents in the North West of people trespassing on the railway lines.

That was up 206 on the previous year. Nationally that figure was 8,265 in 2016, which was up 813 on the previous year.

The BTP spokesman said: “In the last decade almost 170 people have lost their lives trespassing on the railway.

"Almost half of those killed were under the age of 25.

“Most trespassers say taking a shortcut was their main motivation, followed by thrill-seeking. But going on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.

“We’re doing all we can to keep people safe by patrolling areas we know they’re likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so.

“We’re also working closely with Network Rail and train operators to reduce trespass by improving security across the network, using covert surveillance to catch offenders and trespass shoe going into schools to warn children of the dangers of trespassing.

“But we cannot tackle this issue alone. That is why we are urging parents and young people to take a reality check when it comes to trespass.

"It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real life consequences.”

Politicians have spoken of their shock at the incidents.

 Cllr Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Borough Council, said: “It is very unexpected that parents aren’t keeping a watchful eye over their children.

“We all know the dangers of railway lines and need to make sure their children understand, especially those at such a young age.

“There are always public warnings about the dangers of messing around on railway lines and the last thing any of us want is a fatality or any form of major incident.”

Burnley MP Julie Cooper said: “I am absolutely shocked. We have all got a responsibility to ensure children understand the dangers of entering the railway tracks.

“The children are extremely fortunate.

"It wouldn’t have been the first time somebody was seriously injured or killed.

“Children are always looking for adventure and parents need to know where they are and make sure they understand they are putting their lives at risk every time they enter the railway tracks.”

Cllr Mark Townsend, Burnley Council leader, said: “This is a major concern.

"Parents need to be taking responsibility and make sure their children are fully aware of the dangers associated with playing on the railway lines.

“It’s fair to say children are dicing with death every time they do this.”

To report a crime on the railway lines call British Transport Police's hotline on 0800 405040 or send a text message to 61016.