A LOST partygoer who tried to find his way home by walking along a Metro line in South Tyneside has been blasted by a judge – but avoided a jail term.
James Pearson crossed the railway line at Bede Metro Station in Jarrow as he tried to get back to North Shields in the early hours of November 12.
The 20-year-old had been at a party in Jarrow and had decided to follow the line back home when he was spotted on CCTV.
Pearson admitted a charge of trespassing on railway property when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The court heard that Pearson is already subject to a six-month suspended jail term – but District Judge Helen Cousins decided not to lock him up as she felt he had “learnt his lesson”.
Judge Cousins gave Pearson an absolute discharge – admitting that her sentence may seem “lenient” – but she warned him of the potential risks of his actions.
Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “Pearson was observed on CCTV crossing the line from the South Shields bound side of the platform at Bede Metro Station.
“Police were informed and he was arrested at the station.
“When he was interviewed, he said he was the person on the CCTV footage but could not explain why he was on the tracks.”
Paul Kennedy, defending, said Pearson had decided to get on the rail line as he attempted to make his way back home to North Tyneside.
He said: “He had ended up at a party in Jarrow. It was the early hours of the morning and he didn’t know how to get back home. There was no transport running and he decided to get on the line and start walking.”
Judge Cousins told Pearson: “Do you understand how serious this offence can be? Can you imagine what it would be like to be a driver of a train who hit a person on the line?
“I could send you to prison for this offence by activating your suspended sentence but I feel that would be unjust.”
Pearson told the court he understood the potential consequences of his actions.
Pearson, of Milton Terrace, North Shields, was given an absolute discharge.
Judge Cousins added: “I am going to give you an absolute discharge. That may seem extremely lenient but you owe £1,600 to the court in fines and I will have to add to that if I give you a conditional discharge.
“I feel you may have learnt your lesson about this type of offence.”