Two Men Admit Putting Bin On Railway Line

Two men who shoved a steel wheelie bin onto rail tracks in Hampshire shortly before it was struck by an express freight train have pleaded guilty to endangering safety.

The incident last May also caused delays for Portsmouth fans travelling to London's Wembley stadium for the 2010 FA Cup Final against Chelsea.

Ashley Keatings (20), of Hillbrow Road, Liss, and Jacob Kirby (20), of Station Road, Liss, pleaded guilty to the charge after appearing at Winchester Crown Court today, Monday, 22 November.

CCTV showed Keatings and Kirby, watched by two friends, bundling the bin onto the station platform around 1.35am before Kirby shoved it onto the tracks.

Five minutes later the large steel bin was struck by a freight train travelling at 55mph, sending sparks flying and causing damage to the tracks.

The impact did not damage the train but meant that Network Rail engineers had to attend to remove the bin, which had become lodged underneath.

The incident halted services in the area until 8am, causing delays to passengers using the line, including Portsmouth FC fans trying to make their way to London's Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup Final against Chelsea.

After investigating a number of local leads and issuing a public appeal for information, British Transport Police (BTP) detectives arrested Keatings and Kirby a few days later.

BTP Detective Constable Phil Bibbings, the investigating officer, said:

"I cannot over-emphasise enough the dangers associated with this type of crime.

"Thankfully this time, through luck, no-one was injured and no trains were damaged, but we may not be so fortunate if this happens again. This was a mindless act of vandalism that could have had far worse consequences."

After pleading guilty to endangering safety, Keatings and Kirby will be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, 10 December.