POLICE are warning children that they are dicing with death by playing on a busy North-East railway line.

Officers are becoming concerned about the number of youngsters who have been seen on the Five Arch viaduct, which goes over the River Skerne in Darlington.

The bridge is 50 metres long and once the children are on this stretch of the east coast main line they can not jump off because there is a 50ft drop below.

This means any child who is on the viaduct when a train comes would almost certainly be struck and killed.

British Transport Police escorted three children, one aged as young as six, off the line on Sunday and are now keen to stress the dangers of trespassing on the viaduct.

PC Stephen Strong said: "On this occasion we were able to warn the trains in advance about the youths trespassing on the line.

"The trains fly past at 100mph and if they hit someone on the viaduct, it would be catastrophic.

"Anyone who trespasses on a railway line is dicing with death, but the problem has been made worst recently because of the school holidays."

Anyone who witnesses people on a railway line anywhere in the region is asked to contact police on 0800 405040.