I found this forum after being inspected during a bus ride earlier this morning - here are the notes I've put down to change to letter form to send to the prosecutions team at TFL.
Does anyone have any insight on how they think this will go, and any handy contacts for this letter, or anyone I could call? Just want to get this matter out of the way asap, and especially avoid a criminal record, as I'm very worried about having one.
- Several years ago a friend and I found an old-age Hillingdon Borough Freedom Pass. I intended to return this, and put it in my bag, but forgot to do so.
- Sorting through old bags recently (14th Nov), I pulled this card out, having forgotten it even existed. I put it in my wallet again, intending to return/destroy it, which I know should have done immediately. It could be that I swiped it on a bus that weekend to see whether it was still valid, but as this was something that would be covered by my own Annual Z1-2 travelcard, I thought nothing of it. I had no idea that it would even be in operation, due to the time that elapsed since I found it.
- The card was in my wallet for the time between 14th-29th November, and as I have been using my Barclaycard Visa Oystercard to make Christmas purchases, they have been in and out of my wallet, and in different parts of the wallet.
- On Sunday my valid oyster card happened to not be in my wallet, but was in my wife’s handbag. When the ticket inspectors came, my wife accidentally swiped my card, although she had a valid PAYG Oystercard in her bag. When I went to swipe my wallet, the card in there didn’t register – the revenue inspector asked to see the card, and on asking I realised that I had the freedom pass noted above in my wallet. Unfortunately, I became very panicked as I realised that using that for a paid journey I would be committing a serious offence by accident, and didn’t realise that between us we had two valid oyster cards, which makes this situation even more distressing.
- I am extremely sorry, the offenses I have committed have been accidental, and haven’t given me any financial benefit. I understand that this is an extremely serious offence, and I hope that the circumstances noted above will be taken into account.
This is very distressing to us, my wife and I are at the point where we are thinking jail time is a certainty, as is a criminal record - if anyone has any insights and experience they could use to shed light on this, we'd be very grateful.