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Drugs dog and body scanner used at Preston station

Posted on - 26th February, 2011 - 9:32am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Campaigns, Crime, News, People

A scheme designed to crackdown on anti-social behaviour led to an arrest at Preston train station.

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Operation Valentine, run by British Transport Police, used airport-style metal detectors and a drugs dog to tackle criminals.

One man in his 40s was arrested and charged on suspicion of carrying a knife.

Four other people were caught carrying small amounts of cannabis and handed street warning notices.

Sergeant Paul Southwell, an officer with the British Transport Police for more than 18 years, was pleased with the operation.

He said: “It was a great success. Members of the public were asking what was going on. When they were told what we were doing they were very pleased to see it happening.”

British Transport Police joined forces with Lancashire police, who supplied the scanner and drugs dog.

Revenue Protection Officers from Virgin trains were also on hand to ensure that all passengers had valid tickets.

Sergeant Southwell claimed that teamwork between the forces had been the key to the scheme’s success.

He also revealed Virgin saw a big increase in ticket sales during the event.“Speaking to the guys who work at the booking office, they said the increase in tickets was unbelievable. They have taken much more money just because somebody was checking tickets while people were entering the station,” he said.

A Virgin Trains spokesman said checks were there to help customers.

He said: “The aim is to ensure that everybody who’s on the train has paid to be on the train and that’s to the benefit of all passengers who have actually purchased a ticket because they’re not subsidising people who are cheating the system.”

Sergeant Southwell hopes these operations convince travellers about the efforts transport police are making to make them feel safe: “It’s important people feel they can travel at night especially without the fear of anti-social behaviour or people carrying knives. I think this operation has helped towards that.”

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