POTENTIAL trespassers have been warned to stay off railway tracks that have been closed during lockdown.

Both East Lancashire Railway and Police officials have come together to issue the warning, with maintenance trains continuing to run across the line despite it being closed to the public.

Rossendale and Bury North Police have said that there have been issues with trespassing along the line, which runs between Heywood and Rawtenstall.

ELR Chairman Mike Kelly said: “We were extremely disappointed to hear of further trespassing incidents that have recently taken place despite repeated safety warnings.

“While East Lancashire Railway lines have remained closed during lockdown, there are still a number of unscheduled maintenance trains running.

“Trespassing on railway tracks is a criminal offence for good reason.

"It is incredibly dangerous and people who walk on the line are putting themselves at grave risk of serious injury and fatality.

“We thank Rossendale Police for bringing the issue to everyone’s attention and warning people that walking on the line is still perilous during lockdown.”

Meanwhile, police officers have issued a similar warning about the potential hazards, as well as reminding the public that trespassing is a criminal act.

A spokesperson for Rossendale Police said: "Please can we remind people to keep off the railway tracks of the East Lancashire Railway.

"As well as potentially committing an expensive offence, it's a dangerous place to be walking.

“Although passenger trains are currently suspended the track is still being used by a works train which has encountered numerous people walking the line without high vis clothing and in clear breach of the law."

East Lancashire Railway will remain closed until further notice.

However, members of the public can help ensure it is able to reopen again by donating to the ELR Support Fund.

To find out more about East Lancashire Railway and how to contribute to the support fund, visit: www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk.