The Strangford Alliance MLA said: “I am quite shocked that over 140 people were prosecuted for offences involving our local rail service. It is totally despicable that so many thugs are putting the safety of rail staff and the wider public at risk.
“We need tougher punishments for these rail thugs because a stronger deterrent will mean less chance of incidents and therefore safety risks being removed. For example, if staff or passengers are attacked, the perpetrators should be receiving strong custodial sentences to send out a message that this type of dangerous behaviour will be stamped out. Public transport must be a service that local people are happy to use and they should feel safe whilst travelling on the network.
“However, one positive element to this story is that it does at least show that Northern Ireland Railways are taking these matters seriously and are strictly enforcing these laws. These high levels of enforcement show that much is being done to protect rail staff and their customers.”