Sexual assaults reported on the Tube have soared in the last four years, new figures show.

Attacks recorded on the London Underground leapt by 42 per cent - from 844 in 2015/16 to 1,206 in 2018/19 - according to analysis by the Press Association news agency.

The British Transport Police (BTP) said the force expected a rise following a drive to encourage victims to report unwanted sexual behaviour.

But campaigners say incidents are still under-reported and more needs to be done to stop attackers before they strike.

Andrea Simon, the End Violence Against Women Coalition’s head of public affairs, said: “It’s not enough to just encourage the reporting of sexual harassment and assaults, alongside this we need to be proactively identifying offenders and stopping them.

Harrow Times:

Sex assaults on the Tube have soared by 42 per cent. Photo: Pixabay

“We know that those committing sexual offences will enter the transport system purposefully in order to commit those offences.

“CCTV shows that they will move around the transport network looking for women to target, most often during the commuter rush hours when the tube network is busiest.”

The figures, released by the Mayor of London’s office, show there have been 138 sexual assaults on the night Tube since it was phased in on lines from August 2016, with 62 in 2018/19 - about 5 per cent of the year’s total.

Transport for London (TfL) said incidents are more common in the day, with the longer, busier lines seeing more offences.

Predators often target woman during rush hours

The Central line, which does not have CCTV cameras on its trains, saw the most recorded assaults, with 1,054 over the four-year period, followed by 645 on the Victoria line, 601 on the Northern line and 547 on the Jubilee line.

In the 12 months to March 2019, there were 305 recorded sexual assaults on the Central line, making up about a quarter of the total for the year.

One of those offences was carried out by married entrepreneur Tomas Bukys, 45, who touched a woman’s bottom three times as he stood behind her on a crowded Tube train in what the victim described as a “violation”.

Bukys, from Brentwood, in Essex, claimed the contact between Oxford Circus and Liverpool Street stations on July 27 last year was accidental.

Entrepreneur touched woman's bottom three times

But Deputy District Judge Adrian Turner found him guilty of sexual assault and handed him a two-year community order, including 100 hours of unpaid work at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Bukys was also ordered to pay £150 compensation and £485 in costs and other charges.

The Central line - the second busiest on the Tube network with some of the oldest trains - does have CCTV in all of its stations, but TfL admitted installation of cameras on trains will not be complete before 2023.