Harry Potter fans are putting themselves in serious danger by walking along a live rail track to a Hogwarts Express landmark, transport police have warned.
There has been an increase in the number of tourists walking on the railway towards the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands which featured in several Harry Potter films including The Chamber Of Secrets when Harry and Ron pursue the Hogwarts Express in a flying car as it crosses the famous bridge.
British Transport Police (BTP) has issued a warning that visitors are “mere Muggles” and there could be fatal consequences of trespassing on the track.
It is not the first appeal made since the films were released but there has been a 16% rise in trespass offences across the country in the last year, according to BTP.
Authorities have been working to improve fencing and signage in the Glenfinnan area to direct tourists to safe vantage points for photographs.
Sergeant Kevin Lawrence said: “Tourists from all over the world travel on the Jacobite steam train during the summer months to visit the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.
“Alarmingly, visitors often get off the train at Glenfinnan and walk back along the line to take photographs. This is extremely dangerous.
“The scenic, rural area also attracts many bikers and other tourists also travelling by road to see the viaduct.
“When they are caught up in the excitement of their trip, people may not realise that what they are doing is trespassing on the railway, risking the lives of themselves and other people who could be travelling on trains passing through.
“Over the years we have worked with Network Rail to improve fencing and signage in the area to encourage tourists to get to safe vantage points for photographs without accessing the lines.
“We urge everyone to stay off the tracks at all times, and if you see anyone on the tracks while you are at the viaduct, please warn them that it is not safe.”
Glenfinnan is not the only area with seasonal trespass problems - hill walkers, wild campers and mountain bikers are also said to be taking risks crossing tracks in the Highlands.
Mr Lawrence added: “Much as we love Harry Potter, I would like to remind everyone that we are mere Muggles, and if you trespass on the railway and are struck by a train, the consequences could be extremely serious and probably fatal.
“People need to be aware of the immense danger they are putting themselves in by trespassing on the railway line. One slip, one stumble, one fast-moving quiet train and your life could be gone in a flash. Trespass is not worth the risk.”