British Transport Police (BTP) has issued a warning to people who are using the railway as a shortcut and trespassing on a branch line in Cornwall.

Officers have received reports of people trespassing on the line to access Saw Mills, a spot by the line that runs from Lostwithiel to Fowey Docks. The line is used by heavy goods trains to transport china clay.

Officers are now appealing for local people and holidaymakers stay safe and stay off the tracks between Golant village and Fowey.

BTP believes it is generally adults who are committing the trespass offences but they also have fears that any children who witness the behaviour may also stray on to the line and put their own lives in serious danger.

PC Bob Edwards of BTP said: "During the lighter evenings and holiday periods, we traditionally see an increase in trespass offences on the railway.

"We are hoping that by targeting this hot spot area and highlighting the dangers of trespassing in an inherently dangerous environment, we will deter people from walking on the line.

"We are also asking parents and adults to take responsibility and emphasise the dangers to your children. If you live near the railway, ask yourself ‘do you know where your children are playing?’

"This is not about stopping people having fun or causing inconvenience – it is about keeping people safe from harm. The last thing I, or any other BTP officer, wants to do is knock on someone’s door to tell a family their child or loved one has been killed or seriously injured as a result of them trespassing on the railway."

The warning follows the launch of a national initiative - Operation Intruder – which will see BTP officers carrying out increased patrols at hot spots around the country in a bid to try to ward off would-be trespassers.

Across the country hundreds of children and young adults every year – an average of 14 a day – risk their lives and those of rail passengers and staff every year by trespassing on railways.

BTP is enlisting the help of other police forces and the rail industry, including the use of helicopters, to report trespassers. BTP officers will also report any damage to railway property, such as broken fences, so it can be repaired, helping to stop people gaining access to the track.

As well as risking death or injury, anyone caught trespassing on the rail network faces a fine of up to £1,000.

Anyone with any information can call BTP on Freefone 0800 40 50, or text 61016. In an emergency, always dial 999.