Drunk brought Metro to a halt after falling onto track

SERVING TIME ... Mark Herron, who stumbled onto lines at Fellgate Metro station.
SERVING TIME ... Mark Herron, who stumbled onto lines at Fellgate Metro station.

A CHRONIC alcoholic who stumbled onto a busy South Tyneside rail track has been told his actions could have had ‘tragic consequences’.

Mark Herron fell onto the rail line at Fellgate Metro station while in a drunken state and required hospital treatment.

The 47-year-old – who has 235 convictions for 395 previous offences on his criminal record - pleaded guilty to trespassing on railway property at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

A second charge of endangering safety by jumping onto the rail tracks was withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Police and the ambulance service were called to the Metro station following the incident at about 6.20pm on September 6 last year.

Herron appeared in court from the custody dock, as he is currently serving a jail term for another booze-fuelled offence.

Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said: “The incident dates back to September 6 of last year.

“It was 6.20pm in the evening and CCTV footage shows Mr Herron at Fellgate Metro station.

“It showed him with facial injuries after stumbling onto the rail track.

“He lies there for some time before getting up and falling over again.

“He then climbs onto the platform. Police and the ambulance service assisted him.

“He was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital and subsequently to Durham for specialist treatment.

“It’s fair to say that due to the time of the day, there was a disruption caused to the Metro system.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “He is a chronic alcoholic and has been for a number of years.

“He has numerous drunk and disorderly offences.

“He was clearly drunk and caused himself significant injury to his face, and now has a permanent scar.

“He was jailed for being drunk and disorderly in May, and won’t be released until July.

Michael Conroy, chairman of the magistrates, said: “You have caused disruption and could have been killed.

“If you must be drunk, don’t be drunk at a railway station.”

Herron said from the dock: “I apologise to everybody.”

Herron, of Mowbray Apartments, Sunderland, was given an absolute discharge due to the fact he is currently serving a prison sentence.

Vicki Beadle, community safety manager for Network Rail, said: “This incident could have had tragic consequences. We would never want to prevent people from enjoying themselves, but urge anyone who has been drinking to take extra care around the railway, and to never, ever, go onto the tracks.”

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