THE police force that patrols the railway lines in the Knutsford area has said it is winning its war on crooks.

British Transport Police said that ‘notifiable’ crime — the more serious offences with which it deals — fell by six per cent during 2013-14.

That means there were 3,000 fewer victims of crime than during the previous 12 months.

Notable achievements include a reduction of 18 per cent in recorded robberies, a 17 per cent drop in theft of passenger property and a 37 per cent fall in theft of cable from the railway.

BTP Chief Constable Paul Crowther said: “The initiatives and operations which have made such an impact during the past 12 months highlight the advantage our specialist knowledge brings to the railway.

“By working with the rail companies and passengers, we are able to truly understand the challenges they face and devise innovative solutions to tackle those problems.”

In 2012, theft of passenger property was highlighted by rail users and train operators as a growing concern.

Crooks had turned to trains and stations which offered supposed easy pickings.

In response, BTP launched Operation Magnum — an awareness campaign which drew on the knowledge and experience of rail officers and staff to advise passengers about the most common tactics used by thieves, as well as tips to avoid falling victim to those methods.

Mr Crowther said: “We have led the way in combating theft and there can be little doubt that Operation Magnum, which was driven by online content and social media, has had the desired effect with almost 3,000 fewer people falling victim to this type of crime year on year.

“During 2013-14 we continued to spearhead efforts to tackle metal and cable theft on the railway and in other sectors, through the National Metal Theft Taskforce.

“This brought about a 37 per cent fall in railway-cable theft which significantly reduced the delays and disruption faced by the railway as a result of criminal activity.

“I am proud to be leading British Transport Police during this period of change and development.

“I have no doubt that we have the skills, desire and expertise to ensure all passengers and staff can get home safe, secure and on time every day.”