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500 fare dodgers caught in five days

More than 500 fare dodgers have been caught in Birmingham in five days during a new operation from British Transport Police.

Operation Loop was working in Longbridge, Northfield and Sutton Coldfield stations last week. They issued 522 £20 fines plus prosecuted 14 people for travel fraud.

Operation Loop catches fare dodgers Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

We know from our experience that there is often a link between fare evasion and anti-social behaviour.

British Transport Police will continue to work with London Midland to ensure that we respond to passenger concerns relating to their safety on the railway.

– Inspector Chris Casey, of West Midlands Police

British Transport Police say that in a survey of passengers - fare evasion was a top passenger gripe.

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MP John Hemming calls for investigation into exploding manhole covers

Yardley MP John Hemming has called on utility companies to investigate the growing rise of exploding manhole covers after one narrowly missed a two year old girl.

Mr Hemming said that there were under ten reported exploding manhole covers a year a few years ago rising to more than 60 last year.

I have written to OpenReach (BT), Western Power (the MEB) and National Grid to pin down what is going on and why when the same thing happened at the same location 9 months ago that it still happened again.

Although it is good to report that no-one was hurt in this instance, people have been hurt on other occasions. The HSE raised the issue with the utilities companies last year, but it is unclear that this has resulted in the right action.

I have put in a parliamentary question about this and will keep constituents in touch with the outcomes.

– MP John Hemming

Karen Mhlanga was walking along Warwick Road in Acocks Green with her parents Sanele and Francis, when the metal covers flew up from the ground.

The National Grid say they're investigating the explosion, on Thursday, January 22, but they have ruled out a gas escape.

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