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    • If you are absolutely certain* that you were parked OK, write a letter of complaint to the Headteacher and copy in the Chair of the school governors.   If you or the car were identifiable in any way from the photo (eg visible registration number, driver's face etc) I would very politely write that you resent the untrue suggestion that you had parked/had stopped/were waiting in a way that contravened any traffic regulations, and that you are sure that the school will understand that you would like an apology and a correction to be printed in the next newsletter.  (You can also clearly state that you were identifiable from the photo because other parents have mentioned it to you).   See if that works.   You don't want to go to court for defamation as you'll need access to about £10k in fees before you get out of bed.  You just want an apology and a correction.  If what you've told us is accurate, I don't see any reasonable school failing to say sorry.     *My wife is a former school governor and my experience listening to her is that very very few parents actually understand the meaning of the no stopping/no waiting signs and road markings outside schools.  Don't complain unless you are sure you weren't stopped where you shouldn't have been.
    • And they haven't offered a speed awareness course either?  (Have you done one in the last three years or is this in Scotland?)   And is one of the notices for 34 in a 30?  As Man in the Middle says, that ought to be below the level at which they take action.   (And sorry - I don't want to appear preachy - but...  there don't have to be any warnings or signs or lines on the road to advise you of the presence of speed cameras.  If you get away with an exceptional hardship argument you will need to stick to speed limits in future - whether you know there are cameras there or not.  NB Don't know if this applies to you, but most 30 mph limits are restricted roads with a system of streetlighting and don't even need speed limit signs - you are assumed to know this from the Highway Code).
    • It's up to you if you want to pay £300 you don't owe plus whatever Unicorn Food Tax with no basis in law whatsoever that they will have made up in the Letter Before Claim.   We'd prefer you didn't.   But you have received a LBC so it's make your mind up time.   So please    - post up photos of the signage in the dark that you'll have taken two months ago (post 14)    - post up details of planning permission for their signs you'll have found out after you got onto the council, again two months ago (again post 14)    - also let us know if you agree with Brassnecked's excellent letter or if you'd like to tweak bits depending on what you've found out    - upload the LBC.  Some of them are appallingly drafted and invariably contain Unicorn Food Tax which is all useful extra ammo    - also, where are you living now (post 35) and are you comfortable with legal communications arriving at your parents'?   If you look in our PPC Successes thread at the top of the page, you will see 275 times these cheats have been seen off with their tails between their legs (and all had the same "well known legal companies" (ho! ho!) on hand).  In reality 275 times is a massive underestimate, in all 275 cases there was a "moment of victory" IYSWIM where the PPC were thrashed in court or discontinued a claim or were called off by a supermarket chain, etc., etc.  There will have been at least that number again where they were told to Foxtrot Oscar and then crawled back under their stone.  They are eminently beatable but logically when you're in legal dispute you have to put some graft in to beat the other party.
    • Just as update to Stigman, the letter I received  does not mention collections and recoveries  at all . the account number is definitly wrong . like @Stigman i did not ive them the current address either in fact the old credit file even has a GONE AWAY marker too, mine has been SB'd for over 5 years now , so im in the same boat.having looked at that old CRA file it says satisfied with a defualt balance , so they must have sold it on perhaps in 2013 as it wasnt updated since ,but no other records on file to who may have purchased it . MSE has this article but it doesnt seem relavant me MSE Article & which article
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Hi guys,

 

It has been almost 6 months since my incident (20 March 09) and I haven't heard anything from TfL. I rang city of london magistrates and they didn't have my name on any listings. Though I suppose they were just checking current and not historical listings.

 

Please can anyone tell me where I stand? I wish to phone TfL next week to ask what happened with my case.

 

Thanks again for all the good advice

 

Provided that you haven't changed address in the intervening six months, I'd say that SRPO is right. You can be fairly optimistic that the matter isn't going anywhere.

 

The reason that I mention any address change is of course because any letters / summons might have been sent to a different address if you had given one and the only other consideration is whether a Court other than CoL might have been relevant, e.g: Thames Magistrates ?

 

If neither of these are relevant factors, I'd say that you're in the clear.

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I'd be extremely surprised if you hear anything now.

 

It looks as if you've done all you could reasonably be expected to do and seems likely that TfL have decided not to proceed in your case.

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I just phoned TfL. Was pretty confusing to be honest.

 

The guy at the prosecutions department said 'we haven't received the report yet'. I tried to get clarification and as far as I can tell he said the inspector had submitted the report but the prosecutions team had not 'received' the report. I got him to confirm that no court summons had been issued.

 

I did mention that it has been 6 months but he rambled something about they can resolve issues outside of a prosecution via fines.

 

Not sure where I stand with them now.

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No, they cannot 'impose a fine'. Only the Court has the authority to do that.

 

A Penalty Fare Notice is a civil matter, but if unpaid, can result in a case for prosecution alleging the intention to avoid a single fare.

 

As an alternative to prosecution, they can agree an 'administrative penalty' to resolve a case, but if I were you I would do nothing now.

 

If, because you have reminded them of your case, they write to you now, demanding an administrative payment more than 6 months after the event, I would write back politely advising that, you decline their offer of an opportunity to settle and asking them to issue a Summons or, not to write to you again.

 

If they attempt to issue a Summons more than 6 months after the date of offence, this will be rejected by the Court.

 

The only course of action left to them then is to pursue any unpaid penalty notice as a civil debt and this requires that they pay for the County Court Summons before proceeding. I have never known them to do that yet.

 

In my view, I'd say that where you stand is that you are now in the driving seat.

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Can I pick your brain UNDERGROUND?

I was nabbed at local tube station after clicking out on mum's freedom pass... (3 stops, £3.20) had no defence, gave all my details, signed the note book, then had a conversation with inspector about why I used card (poor student) and how mum didn't know I had her card and how does she get a new one....she was quite hostile and had BTP officer watching me....I was co-operative

 

Anyway, got a summons and the inspector's statement doesn't reflect any talk of mum's card and says that I refused to answer questions, and did not admit to offence. I feel like I've been shafted, but I am GUILTY. Don't know what to do, can't afford (and don't like) lawyers.... any help.. got summons 3 days ago, haven't replied.

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I'd say it is almost impossible for anyone to give specific advice here without seeing the actual statement and comparing it with your full account of the incident.

 

Obviously you should NOT post that specific information here.

 

You clearly accept that you were in the wrong and did commit the offence in avoiding a fare by using a Freedom pass to which you have no entitlement.

 

Logically, you should try to get the prosecution to settle out of Court (it may be too late for that) or, may wish to enter a guilty plea with mitigation, which will allow the Court to deal with the case quickly. This will mean that you will be given the greatest credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.

 

If you genuinely believe that any essential details have been deliberately omitted and that such an ommission changes the factual report of the offence in a manner that is damaging to your position, then you should say so.

 

Your correct plea would be 'not guilty' if you genuinely believe that your chance of acquittal has been damaged by any false allegation or material ommission.

 

If you are saying that the Inspector used a pro-forma statement to make the report and has not added in your comments that your Mum did not know you had the pass and that you were hard up and couldn't afford the fare, such an ommission would not of itself, alter the material facts reported in that you were using someone elses Freedom Pass in order to avoid paying the correct fare.

 

If you accept that you committed the offence and intend to plead guilty, you can still put those comments to the Magistrates in mitigation and such open-ness may result in the Magistrates treating the offence less harshly that would otherwise be the case.

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Being treated harshly by the inspector doesn't change the material facts that I intended to avoid paying my fare by using a freedom pass. That much seems clear.

 

Its my first offence (ever, for anything) and I had a certain trust which has been obliterated by anonymous officials and it has shaken me. What I said and what I did is not in the statement, but it doesn't change the guilty plea. I cannot plead not guilty because I didn't like the inspector, or more to the point, she didn't like me! Think I'll phone them tomorrow........ and hope the fine is less than £1000. Thanks for the advice.

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If you look at another thread that I replied to yesterday entitled 'Fare Evasion - please help' you will see that I have set out the likely fine etc if the prosecution continues, but it is worth your while calling the prosecutions manager to see if you can still settle this out of Court.

 

That way, if they agree, you will still have to make a payment to the rail company, but it is likely to be less than the total that a Court will impose and you will avoid a criminal conviction.

 

If you plead guilty at Court you will probably be fined, have to pay at least part and maybe all of the prosecutor's costs claim, will have to pay the fare compensation to the company and a victim surchage to the Court for being convicted of an offence.

 

Don't worry, the total will certainly be a hell of a lot less than £1000 if it's your first offence.

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Does anyone know what the most likely (or maximum) costs will be involved if you're found guilty at trial?

 

Also, does writting (a few letters) to LUL to settle out of court, to which they have to respond, add significantly to their costs?

 

First offence (i've posted details about the case before)

 

B

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The average costs claim is around £100 and no, attempting to settle out of Court does not usually make any difference whatsoever to that application.

 

The Magistrates would take into account whatever mitigation you put if this proceeds to Court and if you are convicted will order you to pay a proportion or all of the costs as they see fit in accordance with your circumstances.

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Thanks again for your help OC.

 

Can you claim for days taken off work to see solicitors/CAB? Time taken to prepare case for the trial and all letters written regarding case? Also, stress caused to myself and other family members?

 

Thanks again.

B

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Hello Underground

 

can I ask for your help? I have never dodged my fares although I do feel like it sometimes because of high prices and low service but anyway I travel on a monthly travelcard zones 2-5.

I live in SE LONDON but today was such a lovely day that I decided to do something different before the winter sets in and I went off to N London for a change of scene. I was going to go to Finsbury Park (Zone 2) Of course I travelled through zone 1 and of course I was caught; what are the chances of that happening again?

I was told that I had 21 days to appeal. I admitted that I was wrong and I thought that it wasn't worth appealing and tried to pay the fine there and then. I was told that I should appeal because I said I didn't know it was wrong to travel through zone 1 without a ticket.

I did know but I just think it is so unfair to have to pay for zone 1 after paying £100 pm when you don't even get the benefit of zone 1.

Also on this particular day (today) nearly all of the tubes and the trains and the overground were undergoing engineering works. I couldn't get to Finsbury Park and trying to get home from N LONDON took 3 hours.

What a shambles! Is there any way around this? Do they take any notice of appeals or shall I just pay the fine?

 

Thanks for any help you can give me

Jackie

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Hello Underground

 

can I ask for your help? I have never dodged my fares although I do feel like it sometimes because of high prices and low service but anyway I travel on a monthly travelcard zones 2-5.

I live in SE LONDON but today was such a lovely day that I decided to do something different before the winter sets in and I went off to N London for a change of scene. I was going to go to Finsbury Park (Zone 2) Of course I travelled through zone 1 and of course I was caught; what are the chances of that happening again?

I was told that I had 21 days to appeal. I admitted that I was wrong and I thought that it wasn't worth appealing and tried to pay the fine there and then. I was told that I should appeal because I said I didn't know it was wrong to travel through zone 1 without a ticket.

I did know but I just think it is so unfair to have to pay for zone 1 after paying £100 pm when you don't even get the benefit of zone 1.

Also on this particular day (today) nearly all of the tubes and the trains and the overground were undergoing engineering works. I couldn't get to Finsbury Park and trying to get home from N LONDON took 3 hours.

What a shambles! Is there any way around this? Do they take any notice of appeals or shall I just pay the fine?

 

Thanks for any help you can give me

Jackie

 

I know you have specifically asked for help from 'Underground', but I hope that you will not mind me expressing an opinion.

 

Yes, it is ALWAYS worth submitting an appeal. That's what the procedure is for and it is your right to use it.

 

It is essential that the conditions accepted when you buy your ticket / Oyster are observed and if you intend to travel through Zone 1, then you must pay for Zone 1. Why should any of us think it OK to not pay, albeit occasionally, when other people honestly pay the appropriate premium fare?

 

You have acknowledged that you knew that and that you were in the wrong, but given that you have referred to the extensive engineering disruptions, it is worth making your appeal on that basis.

 

Although that you will probably be unsuccessful, if you do not appeal then there is the certainty that you will have to pay. If you appeal, then there is at least a chance that you might get a sympathetic response.

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Thank you for your response. I told the inspector that I did not know I was not entitled to travel through zone 1. I can't say it was the engineering works which meant I had to travel that way as that would be admitting I knew I wasn't allowed to travel through zone 1.

 

What really annoys me is that its alright for them to cut our services and still take our money. It took me hours to get back from North London because of the replacement buses which were virtually the only thing running. If I had wanted to travel by bus a bus pass would have been much cheaper.

 

Anyway thanks for letting me get it off my chest. Actually the inspector was very nice and understanding, wouldn't accept my offer of paying my fine immediately but I know you're right. I won't get my appeal. Has anybody? ever?

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Actually I have just thought of something. When I returned home I used the Thameslink train which had engineering works south of St Pancras. Upon selling me my ticket the clerk told me that I was not allowed to travel on the underground with that ticket but I that, as I had no choice because of engineering works, I could travel on the underground. I was understandably somewhat nervous to do so but she insisted that I could as there was no other way. Thus I bought a ticket from zone 3 to zone 3 and used the underground, exactly the same scenario as I had been stopped for before. Please could anyone tell me how that works? Is it because I had been given express permission on the return but had just chanced it on the way up? Thanks again. Jackie

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Hi Old-CodJA

here is the letter I have written to the Penalty Notice Office. I would appreciate your comments. Thank you. Jackie

 

Dear Sirs

 

 

Yesterday the sun rose high in the sky making it a beautiful day. My partner and I decided that it would probably be one of the last of summer and so we decided to make the most of it and do something unusual, we would visit North London and see what it had to offer. It is strange but when you live and work in South London you do not often venture further than the centre. We took some sandwiches and started out at 7.45; we were really looking forward to our day out.

 

Anyway we thought we would go to Hampstead and we would get the overground train from Clapham Junction because I am not particularly fond of the tube and anyway my monthly travelcard was only valid for zones 2-5. When we arrived at West Norwood we found that there were engineering works and we could not get to Clapham Junction. We went to Tulse Hill. There was no-one in the ticket office and there was engineering works which meant that there were not trains there either. We decide that the only way forward would be to go to Brixton and get the Victoria Line to Finsbury Park rather than going to Hampstead Heath. Brixton station was closed due to engineering works so we caught the rail replacement bus to Stockwell where we boarded the tube.

 

We intended to change to the Victoria Line at Euston to head on to Finsbury Park and we were stopped at Kings Cross by the inspector. I was surprised we were stopped because I honestly believed that when there is no alternative it is lawful to travel in any way possible across London. The inspector was actually very nice and even though I offered to pay on the spot he told me that I should appeal the penalty notice as I had not known this. When we got off at Euston we found that we could not get the Victoria line because of engineering works and we could not get back to Kings Cross station because of engineering works so we caught the tube to our original destination of Hampstead. We walked through the beautiful Hampstead Heath and took a ‘mystery’ ride on the C11 bus. I went to get a bottle of water and then we were going to go home from Finchley Road. Both the tube and the train at Finchley Road station was closed due to engineering works and we wondered how we would get South. The station staff had not heard of Tulse Hill or Wimbledon but told us that we should board the rail replacement bus bound for Willesden Green. I was a bit dubious as I seemed to think that Willesden Green was further north but were being hurried to get on the bus so seeming to have no alternative as there was no other transport we did board.

 

I admit that by this time our lovely day was full of arguments, we were tired and lost.

 

When we were almost at West Hampstead another member of underground staff got on the bus to stop- it from running and we were told to board the bus in front. I asked how long it would take to get to Wimbledon and he said he didn’t know Wimbledon anyway we should get off because he wanted to stop the bus. When we got off the bus he said he had no idea how to get to where we wanted to go. Fortunately, a passenger told us about the Thameslink station some 10 minutes walk up the road and so we went there. When we arrived the ticket clerk sold us a ticket which stated that we were not allowed to use the underground but that engineering works meant that the train only went as far as St Pancras and then we would have to get the tube from Kings Cross to London Bridge followed by the Southern train from London Bridge to Tulse Hill.

 

I was very anxious about being stopped on the tube again but she said that when there was no alternative I had to use the tube. This was exactly what I had tried to explain to the inspector but he had issued me with a penalty notice and I was so worried that it would happen again I panicked throughout the journey. I would really appreciate knowing why I could travel on the tube without a valid ticket on my return journey across London from zone 2 to zone 3 but not on the outward journey as I don’t understand why that should be. I have kept the ticket for your perusal should you require to see it.

 

Our day was ruined and it took us 3 hrs and 10 minutes to get from Finchley Road to Tulse Hill because of extensive engineering works. I must say that from a customer’s point of view it looked as though London had come to a standstill.

 

I am truly sorry that I travelled on the tube with only a monthly travelcard for zones 2-5. I have not done so before and, now I know that I cannot do it without permission, I will not do so again. I hope you will accept my appeal.

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The fact is that you have acknowledged your 'misdemeanour', BUT that is an excellent letter, and for what my opinion is worth, I would say that you stand a very good chance of being successful with your appeal.

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Thank you for your vote of confidence Old CodJA I'm not so sure but I'll let you know what happens

 

PS Writing letters is one of my talents probably because I am qualified as a teacher of English and I have to mark so much writing. I'm also a Legal Executive so if you need any proof reading done I'd be glad to return the favour

 

best wishes

 

Jackie

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Thank you for your vote of confidence Old CodJA I'm not so sure but I'll let you know what happens

 

PS Writing letters is one of my talents probably because I am qualified as a teacher of English and I have to mark so much writing. I'm also a Legal Executive so if you need any proof reading done I'd be glad to return the favour

 

best wishes

 

Jackie

 

Many thanks, I'd be pleased to know how you get on

 

Good luck

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone. Thank you so much for the wealth of information on this site. It has been an immense help to me.

 

I just had a question for UNDERGROUND, and anyone else that might be able to help. I would appreciate it so much as I am absolutely terrified.

 

I dont live in London; I came down to London to look after a friend's house and pets while they were away on holiday. As he works for the DLR, he lent me his staff travelcard. It's so incredibly naive of me, but I didnt know that it was illegal for me to use it, especially since he would know, and he lent it to me.

 

I was stopped by a plainclothed officer at an underground station on the 27th, September. After checking it, she said that the card does not belong to me and asked me for my staff identity card. I said I must have mistakenly picked up my husband's card instead of mine as he has the same wallet. She found his staff I.D. card tucked away behind the staff oyster upon removing the oyster to inspect it.

 

In retrospect, I wish I didn't say it was my "husband's" card, as he is just my friend, but this is what he told me to say should anything happen, and I thought that would just be the end of it. When the questioning continued, I was just terrified, and I didn't want her to think I stole it, since he legitimately lent it to me, and because he wouldn't be available if they should call him because he is away on holiday. She asked me to produce I.D, and I only had my united states drivers license, from which she noted down my name and license number. She asked about my surname, which I replied I didnt change my name. This questioning about my "husband" continued on till I felt sick with having embarked on this festering lie and I was too scared to go back and say "actually, he's not my husband". She asked my address, and I gave her my friend's address in London where I am staying while they are away, as opposed to my own as I don't live in London. She phoned in to see if this was indeed my address, but as I am American and can't vote here, it didn't quite matter that she couldn't verify a registered address.

 

I felt so confused because I honestly didn't know that it was illegal to use his card. I was so scared because I had no idea and also, because my friend might be in deep trouble too.

 

She only told me about my PACE rights 3/4 of the way through the questioning when I asked about what my rights were, at which point I was just too afraid to leave and she had a hold of my American drivers license which I needed to get back. Also, she didn't read me my rights, rather, she pointed to a card for me to read. During this time she said "I am not a policewoman, so I don't have the right to detain you. However, if you go, it may harm your defence should they prosecute you." She also confiscated my friend's travelcard and staff I.D. card, saying he could call in to have it returned to him. I started to feel ill and dizzy towards the end and she asked me to read through what she wrote and sign it and I did.

 

I know I'm an ABSOLUTE nitwit for signing it, but I was so scared and being underground in the station where it was hot, incredibly busy and packed, and I felt like I was going to vomit didn't help at all. I just wanted to get away and get some fresh air bc I felt like I was going to pass out.

 

She asked me if I had a "valid" travel card, at which I said I had an old PAYG oyster card I kept in my wallet for emergencies. She checked this and noted down the card number and the fact that it had £10.00 credit on it, and that it hadn't been used since May.

 

I never admitted intent to avoid paying a fare; I maintained that I must have mixed it up with my husband's card who keeps his in the exact same wallet, and that I picked it up by mistake on the way out.

 

I haven't received a letter yet - but having done a bit of research, the fact that I was using a "high value" card means that it is a 'premium' case, and they will probably most definitely prosecute.

 

I am so scared because I am here on a Marriage visa to my English husband, and I am worried about the complications and possible deportation a criminal conviction could cause.

 

I have drafted an apology letter with the mitigating circumstances involving my PACE rights, and the fact that it would be detrimental to my career/life - in hopes that I may be able to pay a fine and not end up with a criminal record.

 

1) Could anybody advise me on how I should write my letter - do I come clean about him not being my husband and just my friend and that I was scared and confused? Or does this make me look worse? Also, do I come clean about the confusion between my friend's address that I gave them and the address I actually live at (which they don't have)?

 

2) Should I send them this letter even though I haven't yet received a letter from them?

 

3) The only information they have as of who I am is:

- US state drivers license name and number

- My friend's address

- My PAYG oyster card number, which is registered to an address from where I have since moved.

 

Will they go as far as to contact the US Department of Motor Vehicles, or trace the address to which I have moved from the one noted on my Oyster card to find out who I am?

 

4) How much trouble will I get in for having lied and said he was my husband, even though we was just my friend? Do I include this all in my letter? Will it get me in more trouble? I just want to be honest about everything because I feel like I did make a genuine mistake and my actions about it just make it seem so much worse.

 

5) From what I've read, it could take weeks and months before they send a letter or summons. My friend's had been planning to move to a bigger place. What happens if my friends move before the letter or summons arrives?

 

 

Thanks again for any help or input you could give during this scary time. I really, really appreciate it.

Edited by Worldismyoyster
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I'm not going to start by listing all the silly things that you have done, you know that you have been silly in attempting to avoid a fare.

 

I am going to nail the one thing that makes this clear for any prosecutor by asking you to answer a simple question.

 

If you still maintain that you thought your friend 'legitimately' loaned it to you for your use and you didn't believe there was anything wrong in that, why do you think he told you to say it was your husbands if you got caught?

 

It's because he knew it was wrong and I'm sure that if you think about it, you must have known too.

 

You may both be charged with an offence. He for allowing you to use his staff pass it in order to permit you to avoid paying the correct fare and you for using it.

 

If I were you, I would wait until you get a letter so that you can be sure that you reply to the right place.

 

As for the reference to PACE, it will be quite normal for an inspector to ask some questions to ascertain whether an offence has been committed and then to 'caution the suspect'. This is what you refer to in the States as 'read me my rights'. Additionally allowing you to read the caution so as to be sure that there are no misunderstandings is good practice.

 

I'm not going into further long explanation, but not admitting intent in this situation does not matter. The elements of a prosecutable offence are clearly evident.

 

If you PM me I will give you some further pointers, which may help clarify things and assist you in responding when you get a letter from the rail company.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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