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  1. Hi everyone, I've lurked a little through some of the other freedom pass misuse threads but thought I'd make my own, sorry if you're tired of these. Before I get into it, call me stupid (I am) but I really did not stop to think about where the money came from so people who need it can use freedom passes, what I was doing and how wrong it was, I only found out after doing some research and I feel extremely ashamed and disgusted at myself for this. I completely admit what I did was wrong and if worst case scenario I am charged with it, I accept my faults and take responsibility. However, if it can be helped I would really not like to hinder my future career, I really do not want this time of ignorance and foolishness to determine my future. I was stopped by an inspector(?) on my way to my retail job who took my details, I admitted it wasn't my card and I had taken it from my mother to avoid paying the fee and save money, and that I had done this more than this one time. I then got a letter from TfL asking if I accept commiting the offence or not and any exceptional reasons, including evidence, as to why TfL should not proceed with a prosecution. I replied with an email expressing my remose and accepting my actions and how foolish it was. I explained why I did it, I was in a really difficult place with money which had been contributing to my depression so I had been using it to and from work, but I know this is no excuse and I know what I did was completely wrong. I also explained the adverse impact it will have on my future career, and offer reasonable monetary sums equivalent to any related fines and administrative fees incurred by the company to settle out of court. The original email was a lot more thorough and remoseful but that is the main points I had, I'm happy to show the full email if necessary. They did not reply to that email, but a few months later I recieved a letter inviting me to court. It reads: [NAME] You are required to appear on [DATE] at [TIME] before [X] Magistrates' Court at [X ADDRESS] to answer the following charge: That you on [DATE OF OFFENCE] at Oxford Circus did enter a compulsory ticket area without having with you a valid ticket. Contrary to Byelaw 17(1) of the Transport for London Railway Byelaws made under paragraph 26 of Schedule 11 to the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and confirmed under section 67 of the Transport Act 1962. [...] On [DATE] [DEFENDANT] travelled from [sTATION] to Oxford Circus station. At 7:52am she produced a Disabled Persons Freedom Pass of high value that did not belong to her and was not valid for her to use. She admitted the pass belonged to her mum and that she was using it to save money. Further analysis of the recent usage of the pass showed an addition 48 journeys where fares totalling £237.40 has been avoided. An application will be made in court for a £338 contributtion towards TfL... I believe my case will be a difficult one considering the number of uses. I hope to settle out of court and pay any fines, and if they decide not to I will attend the court and plead guilty and explain how sorry I am even if they do charge me. Currently I am unsure what to do from here. They did not reply to my initial email. Should I be contacting the Investigations, Appeals and Proecutions team? Should I plead guilty on the court letters I have recieved as soon as possible? What exactly is Byelaw 17(1)? will I be getting a criminal record, what are my possible outcomes? I assume worst case is I get a criminal record, and best case is I settle out of court, but are there any other outcomes? How much will any kind of record hinder my career, what kind of checks are done? Thank you for taking the time to read and any advice will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Tougher laser misuse laws come into force READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tougher-laser-misuse-laws-come-into-force
  3. Hi, I am new to this forum. On the Tuesday 10th April 2018, I got caught using my Dads 60+ card at Angel underground station. I was in deep financial hardship due to bad management of money and a gambling problem. I had no money in the bank account and had only £3 on me. I explained to her that I needed to travel to university for mandatory classes and assessments; I insisted to her that I had no choice but to borrow my fathers card (without permission of course). It was either don't go or fail my module; I didn't know what to do. I showed her my real 18+ card as well as the 60+ card. She noted down that I had -0.30 on my 18+ card and took down the number on the back. She asked me if I was going to use the 60+ card for the whole journey, I said yes. She asked me how long I have been using it.I think I mistakenly told her that I had used it on the Monday as well but this was wrong, I never used it on the Monday, I had only used it on the Tuesday 10th and the Tuesday 3rd; a total of TWO times for the card. I had only used the card because I was literally broke (No money...nothing to travel with). I insisted that I was never to planning to abuse my fathers 60+ card by using it everyday. They can check the usage right? I even said that I used my 18+ card before that (during march) and she even checked it and it said it was last used on the 29th of march. She wrote everything down on her notepad and she repeated what I had said. I said everything was true and signed (but I quickly said that I used it on Monday as well without thinking, but this was false). Strangely she even took my appearance down (skin colour, hair, body build and height), is this normal? At the end of it, she told me that I would receive a letter with the provided address that I gave her. I told her my real address and then she let me go. She told me that "your father can get a replacement". I asked her if I was going to court and she said that "it depends". I haven't received this letter. When should it arrive to the address?. I already planned what I am going to write down, begging them that this was a mistake and a decision that I regret, offering them to pay any fees involved (despite relying on a maintenance loan). I am very worried. I dont want a criminal record, its the last thing I want. This is the first time something like this happened to me. I am an unemployed student with minimal amount of money. Even if I wanted to settle out of court (by looking on this forum its a 20% chance they settle out of court), I am scared they will fine me something like 700 pound which I don't have. How likely is it for TFL to just give me a formal warning without a fee (considering my financial circumstances). Please help.
  4. Hi guys, Just had a quick thought and wondered if anyone could clarify if there may be a legal avenue here. I noticed that many providers of services to the DWP make use of this fund. Is there a case to be made that t he use of sanctions and the behaviour of some of these companies is at least not in the spirit of the European Social Fund agenda? I don't really know much about European law, I understand though that you generally have to exhaust things here before going up a level but surely there must be a way to raise this there. I'm email my MEP about the behaviour of some organisations who run the work programme, but just wondered if any of you could give any insights.
  5. We live in a parking blackspot in Basingstoke. We have lived here for over 30 years and parking has become a nightmare for my husband and myself. If we drive anywhere during the day we have to make sure we return by 4.00pm at the latest and not at all at weekends or we are unable to park. It probably sounds over the top but it is having an effect on our lives. We have a residential parking permit for our car and a visitors permit, which is pointless because we can never invite visitors because they cannot park. It would seem that the "visitors" permit has become a 2nd car permit. Many cars sit in the street, day after day displaying the visitors permit, some are sellotaped to the dashboard. I have contacted the council for a definition of "visitor" but was sent a generic letter giving details of the permit with costs and application form. Is there anything we can do other than move house?
  6. I was caught using my Dad's Freedom Pass end of November and it almost looks certain that TfL will prosecute me for doing so as they can probably build a strong case against me. Of course, I regret my actions and am hoping to find some assistance here to help minimise repercussions. Please have patience with me and read my story. I don't expect any sympathy as I know I am totally in the wrong, but I don't need any nasty unkind comments. So here is my story. [ The facts of the incident ] I beeped through the barriers and was called to the side by two undercover TfL officers, who requested that I show my ticket. Knowingly, that I used a fraudulent card, I produced a standard oyster card that I've not used for months. Of course they knew this wasn't the card I beeped in with. He checked the oyster and told me there was still credit on it, but hasn't been used or topped up for months. He asked me to produce the real card (Freedom Pass). I tried looking confused, but the officer wasn't going to be entertained and threatened that he would search me if I didn't cooperate. I handed over my Dad's Freedom pass and began to feel like distress coming on as the only thought running through my head was. .. 'the crap has finally hit the fan'. He told me he stopped me because abusing Freedom Passes was a high-risk target. He then goes on to take my details and ask a lot of questions and wrote it all down in his notebook. Most importantly... "Do you know that you've committed a serious offense?" - "I'm not really sure, I thought I could use it." "How did you obtain this card?" - "My dad wasn't using it and I thought I would borrow it." "How often have you used it?" - "I just started using it this week." "Today is Wed, so you've used it for a total of 3 days?" - "Yes, I guess so." "Are you sure? We can track the usage of the card and find out everything." - "Erm... Yes." "Where were you traveling from and where were you going?" - "I'm going home from work." After he finished asking me questions, he let me read through his notes to check if anything was different from what was said. I said it was fine. He then wanted me to sign and date it, but before doing so he said... "After I let you go, I want you to know that I am only giving you a caution. After you sign this, I will file a report and you will receive a letter about the event that has occurred. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence. Anything you do say may be given in evidence, etc... Do you understand what I have just said to you?" Trying to get a moment to think about the situation, I asked him to repeat as I was under the feeling of duress I suppose. I answered "YES" and signed his notepad. He told me to exit the gates by one of the staff and I re-enter with the other oyster card as there was sufficient credit. [ Unsaid truths ] Obviously, I didn't have a clear head, being under pressure and scared... so I wasn't entirely truthful. When he asked how often I had used the card, I was thinking to lie in the hope that it wouldn't turn out more serious than I thought it surely would. I had thought that I hadn't been stopped before as I normally come and go at peak times when it's very busy (Piccadilly circus), so it would be difficult to go through all the CCTV and check who used the card. I stupidly thought it plausible that my Dad could have been using it up till the time I "said" I had started using it. In actual fact, I had been using it for 3 months(!) - yes, shame on me! There will obviously be a pattern for the last 3 months traveling between home and work. In a panic, I started reading up on cases on various forums (including CAG). I read somewhere that when an officer conducts an interview for facts, the statement of Right to Silence must be cited before the interview starts. * If the officer only did this at the end, like I mentioned... what bearing does that have on my case? [ Received a letter from TfL asking me to comment on the event ] So I received the standard letter and having read a few cases, it was advised to just grovel and beg for mercy... so I replied as follows: [[ Dear Sir/Madam, I would like to start by saying that I deeply regret my actions, which were completely out of character and as a result of stupidity. I had actually lost my oyster card that I normally use over the weekend. In the rush of leaving for work in the morning and without clearing thinking of the consequences, I foolishly picked up my father’s Freedom Pass in addition to a spare one I found lying around. I simply thought to use the Freedom pass temporarily until I’d gotten paid so I could buy a new monthly travelcard. I was not aware that it is a criminal offence to use someone else’s Freedom pass. I know now, there is no excuse or valid reason for using someone else’s pass and am deeply sorry for not travelling on public transport without a valid ticket. The whole situation has left me quite distraught and I would appreciate the opportunity to settle the matter without court proceedings to avoid even further stress, wasting everyone’s time and resources, and incurring further costs. I completely accept that I am in the wrong. This is my first offence and will certainly be the last! It is not a mistake I will ever be repeating. I humbly ask that you give me the opportunity to compensate TFL for reasonable costs/fine/fare in order to conclude the matter promptly. I am currently engaged to my fiance overseas, and would like to invite her over to get married on a visitor visa. I fear that any legal prosecution would greatly reduce our chances of getting accepted for the visa. ]] [ Reply from TfL ] TRAVEL IRREGULARITY Thank you for responding to our enquiry letter, your comments will be taken into consideration when reviewing this case. Please note it is the responsibility of a passenger to ensure they have a valid ticket... After examining the journey history obtained from the freedom pass, it is apparent that this was not a 'one off' incident. It is suspected that you have made more than 80 journeys, avoiding fares of over £400, this we see as an aggravating feature in your case. I must point out that legal proceedings may still be taken against you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you further. [ End of letter ] I've almost lost all hope of being able to settle out of court. To only thing I can think of is to try to appeal to the humanity of the investigating officer with my mitigating circumstances. I know I'm not angel, but I like to think I'm a fairly decent human being. I pay my taxes, had my fair share of hardships and could really do without this hanging over my head. To try and put across my frame of mind at the time, here is my personal story... [ Circumstances ] I quit my job as an IT professional about 2 years ago. Went to pursue a relationship and take a break from work, and do some traveling. Relationship didn't work out and it's 6 months since I've been working. Feeling really down, and a million miles from home in the country I was born, I visited distant relatives for a little support. I met someone through introduction and we hit it off so I was able to get over my last failed relationship. We are now engaged and are planning a future together. I've been living off my savings for almost 2 years. I was practically living, counting the pennies for the 6 months I had been back in UK and looking for work. It is quite difficult getting back into things after such a long break. I chose not to go on Job Seeker allowance which is a particular drain on taxes. I grit my teeth hoping that I'd find a job any day. So up til this incident, I've been working in a new job for 3 months. Slowly trying to save money to be able to bring my other half here so we can be married and start a life together. Right about the time I just started my job, my Dad offers to let me use his freedom pass!!! Oh how I wish right now he didn't tempt me... I had always paid my travel costs as any good citizen would. He argued that it would help save costs and aid in my efforts to bring my other half over (requiring financial support). My Dad has no clue of legal stuff so didn't know the complications in their entirety when giving me his freedom pass. I knew it wasn't right to use it, but thought to myself - "How bad could it be? A slap on the wrist, a fine, and repay the cost of travels that I evaded. " I had no clue whatsoever, that it could result in a criminal offense and would certainly refused his offer had I known. I've not seen my other half for almost a year and it's quite difficult on us both. This is really the last thing I need in the world and certainly won't reflect well, when applying for a VISA for other half to come here as I would have to sponsor and be financially accountable for. I am trying desperately to build a good supporting case for VISA approval. [ and closing... ] Thank you for reading my story and I hope some of you may be able to offer some guidance on what to do next. I am dreading the day I get a court summons...
  7. Hi everybody, I was caught in early November using my father's freedom Pass in the middle of my return journey (I used the Undeground zone 1- travelling to zone 4) I stayed with the lady Revenue inspector around 30 min and she took all the details needed against me in the court (is the station where you are going near your house, how tall I am, what I am wearing...). At the end: she gave me to read the following written in a small paper: “You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” She took all the correct answers except how many times I have used the Pass. I said just once (and how stupid I was, I said...you have camera..something like that). Few days later I got a letter from TFL to explain/give comments. Thank you so much for your help through this forum, I read few threads and I responded back with an apology letter + my supported documents + offer to pay the reasonable costs. However I said "I have not done so before" in the letter. Few days later, I got another letter saying: " ............. ............... In relation to your actions you state "I have not done so before". I have analysed the recent travel usage on the Freedom Pass withdrawn from you. The pattern of usage would appear to indicate that the incident was not a one-off. This is of concern to TFL. As it currently stands TFL do not wish to accept your offer of a payment as a closure to the matter. I must point out that legal proceedings may still be taken against you. ..................... Firstname Lastname Investigator/prosecutor" OK, now it is true that I used same time and days on more occasions. but I did not confess that. Did they use CCTV to prove against me for the previous ones please? This is my first time I was caught, I regret my actions. I have a clean record so far and I am just now aware that what I have done is a very serious matter that leads to a criminal record, I really didn't know before. I am so scared and can't stop thinking about the matter. I am looking for a job but I can't concentrate properly, already graduated but got visa problems to start work before. I want to avoid criminal record please. I got that letter around 20 days ago but I didn't respond back, 1) do you know what shall I do please? Shall I contact the person dealing with my case, shall I be honest in everything? or shall I just wait for their response? 2) If the option is to contact the person dealing with my case, what shall i say to him/her please? I know I will be trembling answering any questions.. .i don't like to make my case worse as well. ..give some evidence against me. How long does it take for TFL to prosecute someone please? 3) Is it another big mistake to lie via correspondence. Shall I have to rectify my double mistake by calling the concerned person or via post (in case I need it later at court). I know credibility is important...well it is done now and what shall I do next please. I am really confused, as when contacting solicitors.. .some they said I have to wait for TFL response.. .some they said I have to react asap and try to settle out of court.. ..one he said I can not be your solicitor because I lied via correspondence (just frightening). I am very very sorry for my actions, I regret it and I didn't know the last bad consequences. I don't know the best thing to do and how and what to say. ..Is there any chance for my case to settle out of court please. Even though I am feeling that I am just waiting to get a summons to go to court. Thank you
  8. Hi guys, Bit of background: I'm just shy of two years with my employer, I always prioritise my work and in the beginning, when the workload was really high, I would often stay back for hours and come in at the weekend to help out without being asked and without being paid. I have a strong work ethic. The issue: My manager, whom I've raised a grievance against for various reasons, reported me to HR for carrying out non-work related activity whilst at work which is true. Why did I do it if I have a strong work ethic? Various people on the team including myself have brought to our manager's attention that there are many hours every day with no work to do. He hasn't escalated this to anyone and he has allowed everyone on the team to browse the internet, complete coursework and sit on Facebook etc. for many months. I refuse to sit and do nothing for hours every day so I choose to educate myself by completing coursework. What's happened? I had an investigation which I know is going to progress to a disciplinary based on the questions and the fact that I once (or twice) printed something off using work's printers. This probably cost the company 10p and considering the additional hours of work I've put in I would say that they could let that slide but they won't of course. Every time I gave a reasonable explanation for my actions, the investigator explained it away and asked me leading questions to force me to look bad such as 'do you think it is reasonable of an employer who is paying you to expect you to talk with your team as part of a team bonding exercise rather than use company equipment (PC) to complete coursework'. This question is ridiculous and I tried to point this out in the most diplomatic way possible; if my employer is happy to pay me to sit and gossip for hours, or sit and stare into space for hours then why would it matter if I sit and do coursework? I feel as though I am being punished for choosing to educate myself rather than sit and chat...which we're actually not allowed to do because our manager tells us off for it regularly (i.e. after a couple of minutes, never mind hours!) The advice I need is this: If an employee tells their line manager and one of the owners of the company that they do not have any work to do for lengthy periods of time every day (proving they want to work!), can the employer punish me for browsing the web etc. especially when everyone else on the team does it and the manager has known for months? This company has standard policies about web usage but our manager has set the precedent by allowing it for so long. The example they gave of 'sit and chat' is ridiculous because that would be worse and here's why: The investigator had been given (false) information that on a particular shift I had not dealt with a user effectively as a result of doing my coursework. This was inaccurate, I had actually put more effort into trying to get it resolved than any of my colleagues would have, it just happens that I missed what the issue was. There was only one other colleague working that day and we'd had a falling out. Clearly he has lied about me. Yet, this same colleague kept leaving his desk to go and chat with people and actually packed up all of his things 40 minutes before the end of his shift and went to have a gossip with some staff. I completed more than twice the amount of work that he did on that shift. By being away from his desk, he wasn't available to take calls and wasn't available to deal with any issues yet I was because I was staring at my screen writing up an essay. So, who was the more productive employee that day? What employer would really prefer an employee to sit and chat, over educating themselves? I'm shortly speaking to Citizens Advice as I cannot believe that there is any legal justification for refusing to give someone work to do for so many hours but then complain when they read...or type an essay. Especially when the alternative that they suggest is actually worse. I'd also like to point out that when my manager was told about others doing similar things, he did nothing about it. Doesn't my employer have a responsibility to treat me equally and fairly? If anyone has any comments or suggestions, I'd appreciate them.
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