Just what did two youths think they were doing when they deliberately pushed a bicycle into the path of trains at Bedhampton?
It was an incredibly irresponsible and dangerous action that quite frankly beggars belief.
CCTV images show how the youths rode across a level crossing late on Saturday night, then left one of the bikes on the track.
Two hours later it was struck by the early morning Southern service from Barnham to Portsmouth and Southsea. As our dramatic pictures show, the collision led to an explosion as the electrical circuit was tripped and sent a shower of sparks flying into the air.
Officers from British Transport Police and Network Rail then had to retrieve twisted bits of metal and rubber scattered over the track.
Nobody was hurt in the collision, but the BTP say that was only through sheer luck. Fortunately the train, which wasn’t carrying any passengers, also escaped serious damage.
But on another day this could so easily have caused a derailment and much more serious consequences.
No doubt the youths involved thought it was highly amusing to dump a bike on the railway line. But there is nothing remotely funny about endangering the safety of others. This was, as Nicola Dooris from Network Rail says, ‘nothing short of mindless vandalism’.
We hope those responsible are caught and punished and would urge anybody who knows their identity to come forward and contact the BTP.
There may only be grainy images to go on, but this incident does show the value of CCTV. Yes, there will always be those who complain about how these cameras watch over us Big Brother-style. Yet without them, those responsible for putting the bike on the track would be unlikely to be identified.
As it is, officers investigating the incident have a start. But if you have any information, they need to speak to you. Call BTP on 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 83 of 10 March or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.