Metro bosses have warned graffiti vandals could be seriously hurt or killed after a man was arrested after fleeing from security guards at the system’s train depot.
The man, who broke his ankle, was one of a gang who sprayed paint in the face of a worker who confronted them as they attempted to daub a train in the early hours of Thursday morning (May 16).
Security has been stepped up at the Metro depot in Gosforth in a bid to prevent attacks by people intent on vandalising trains.
The warning comes after three people were killed on a railway line in London in a similar incident in the early hours of the morning in June 2018.
Nexus, the public body which owns and operates Metro, has increased security at the depot with extra foot patrols. It has warned that anyone who trespasses there risks being seriously injured or killed through contact with high voltage power lines and because there are trains moving around throughout the night
Metro Services Director, Chris Carson, said: “We have increased the security at our depot and this is why these offenders were caught out.
“People who spray paint onto trains cause damage which can cost thousands of pounds to put right, and which passengers find unpleasant to see on their daily commute.
“We are shocked that a member of staff just doing his job should have paint sprayed in his face – this could have been a lot worse than thankfully it was.
“Anyone who trespasses in the Metro depot is putting themselves at risk of being killed – there are train movements throughout the night and high voltage power lines across the site.
“We have seen the tragic impact this can have after three people were killed by a train in London last year while on the railway in the early hours, by a train they could not expect to have been there. It has a huge impact on the family and friends of those killed as well as staff who work on the railway.”
The gang had started spray painting the side of a Metro carriage when they were caught by an employee who was on night shift.
One of the intruders discharged sprayed paint on to the side of the member of staff’s face and uniform. He was unhurt.
The four offenders made off on foot. As they fled the scene one of them tripped over and sustained a broken ankle. The police were called and arrested a man.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm we are investigating reports of criminal damage and common assault after reports of vandalism at South Gosforth Metro depot.
“At about 3.40am on Thursday May 16 it was reported that four males were spraying graffiti on a Metro carriage based at the depot before they were challenged by a member of staff.
“They sprayed the aerosol on the face of the staff member before fleeing the scene. A 21-year-old man fell over as he tried to flee the area and was taken to hospital for treatment to a broken ankle.
"The member of Metro staff was thankfully not injured as a result of the incident.
“Enquiries to identify all those involved are ongoing and police are working closely with Nexus as part of the criminal investigation.
"Anyone who has information about the incident is encouraged to contact police on 101 quoting log 93 16/05/19.”