TRANSPORT police in Greater Manchester are encouraging people to help make sure they have a very merry Christmas.

Extra patrols will be carried out at stations in Greater Manchester over the Christmas period to make sure all people using the rail network feel safe and reassured.

While officers will be doing their part as Manchester’s world famous Christmas market starts and party season gets under way the public are being asked to do their bit by showing consideration to their fellow passengers and station staff.

Chief Inspector Andrea Graham, from British Transport Police, said: “We want everyone to enjoy the festivities and make the most of the fabulous attractions our city has to offer knowing that we will be there at stations helping to keep them safe.

“We’re asking people who’re planning on having a few drinks in town not to overdo it – take a reality check and have a bit of consideration for your fellow passengers and station staff – we’re not killjoys; we want you to have a good time but don’t cross the line.

“In most cases of anti-social behaviour or violence, excessive alcohol is involved so it’s important you know your limits and don’t risk jeopardising your lift home by having that extra one for the road. Anyone considered too intoxicated will be refused travel.”

While people will be out enjoying the festivities, train services will be busier than usual, meaning people’s patience could be tested and also making trains an ideal hunting ground for pick pockets.

Chief Inspector Graham added: “Services at this time of year are always busy and everyone’s patience can be tested but please don’t take this out on rail staff who are simply doing their job at an incredibly demanding time.

“Busy trains are also a dream for would-be pickpockets so please keep your belongings safe at all times. Most thieves are opportunists so don’t make it easy for them by leaving your shopping or expensive belongings like laptops and mobile phones unattended.

“Please pay attention to your surroundings; it’s easy to become distracted when stations and trains are busy but your ears and eyes are a massive weapon in the fight against crime – if you see anything suspicious, no matter how small, please report it to station staff, one of our officers, or text 61016.

“Far from being the Grinch, we want everyone to have a fun Christmas safe in the knowledge that we’re working to keep them safe. Together we’ve got it covered.”

Northern is also supporting BTP’s plans to keep people safe and will be refusing travel to people that are deemed too drunk and may be asked to leave stations.

Liam Sumpter, regional director for Northern, said: “Christmas is meant to be a fun time and we certainly don’t want to get in the way of that fun or dampen the party spirit.

“Sadly, too often we have to deal with customers who have had way too much to drink and not only put their own safety at risk, but often act aggressively towards our staff.

“This year we are taking a stand against such behaviour and will stop anyone who is too drunk from travelling on our trains.

Chief Inspector Graham added: “As always we’ll be supporting Northern staff in their zero tolerance approach to drunken and abusive passengers in the run up to Christmas.

“Far from being killjoys, we want to make sure everyone who travels into and out of the city at this busy time of year enjoys a peaceful and trouble free experience.

“Anyone who is abusive to rail staff or members of the public will be dealt with robustly. Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated at this or any other time of the year.”