Trains halted over gunman fears between Royston and Baldock
TRAINS were brought to a halt for more than an hour after a man was spotted pointing a rifle at a train travelling between Royston and Baldock. The alarming incident caused a major alert with local police being supported by British Transport Police (BTP)
TRAINS were brought to a halt for more than an hour after a man was spotted pointing a rifle at a train travelling between Royston and Baldock.
The alarming incident caused a major alert with local police being supported by British Transport Police (BTP) going to the field where the gunman was spotted by at least three train drivers on Saturday afternoon near Odsey south of Ashwell and Morden Station.
The force helicopter was also scrambled from its base at RAF Henlow in an attempt to track down the man.
Police officers eventually discovered a number of armed men attending a legal shooting party hunting rabbits and other game on nearby farmland at the side of the railway line.
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A spokesman for BTP said the alarm was raised by the train drivers but one had even reported seeing a man with a rifle on a tripod at the side of the track pointing the weapon at his train.
He immediately radioed his signal box at King's Cross and both teams of police converged on the area.
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The hunting party was spoken to and given advice about the danger of walking near railway lines with weapons and told to keep well clear of railway embankments and never point weapons at trains.
"A driver reported seeing a man with a rifle on a tripod next to the track between Ashwell and Morden Station and Baldock Station," said a BT spokesman.
"The man was facing the railway line on the embankment but we don't know whether he was trespassing or not. The gun was pointing at a train. We immediately sent a team of officers there and they linked up with the local constabulary and found a number of people in a field taking part in a shoot.
"They were spoken to and given words of advice about carrying weapons near a railway line and to be a bit more careful."
A Herts police spokesman said: "Officers went to the area and found a number of men on a track shooting rabbits. They were a shooting party and were there quite legally.