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I confess. I am a fare evader


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Dear all, any help in choosing between two evils would be hugely appreciated.

 

Since moving house over a year ago, I have bought a monthly / weekly ticket, which gets me legally only halfway to work. I am therefore a fully informed and conscious fare evader. I have been able to buy extensions on occasion where necessary, but have generally not had to. Sort of thing.

 

I have justified this to myself by saying that the £2,500 a year for a legal ticket was excessive (including travelcard rights which I don't use) and difficult to pay, with an extended mortgage etc. Also, I thought that if Southern and South West Trains didn't employ enough people I would take the risk of paying the odd penalty fare and be able to support the family and pay the mortgage more comfortably.. Credit crunched, but with no history of antisocial behaviour, sort of thing.

 

Needless to say, I ran into a SWT RPO last week, and now kind of wish I'd bought the right ticket all along. Clearly the whole thing was a bad bet, and I'm hoping that the thing now gets settled out of court, I can pay £x00 and act more responsibly. If I have to go to court, okay, but I hope not to! I realise that to have this happen again would have serious consequences, so will find the money and move on happily.

 

I was not trying to leave that station, but changing onto another train. I had already made one change and not seen a ticket seller, but I can't pretend that I was looking for one. Does the fact that I change(d) trains from one run by Southern to one run by SWT make me doubly liable, BTW?

The SWT RPO took a statement under caution. All very polite, but he didn't give me a copy of what he wrote, and he said that as his writing was illegible he would read me my "confession" - ie, from memory, that I had travelled on a South West train without a ticket, which constitutes fare evasion.

 

He took my details including phone number and said that SWT trains would be in touch - implication, they wanted to speak to me before deciding how to proceed.

 

So, to cut a long story shortish, three questions please and I would value your advice on my best course of action.

 

a Will they really phone me and give me the Spanish Inquisition, do you think? Other follow-up responses seem to suggest that letters are sent out.

 

b Do SWT have the ability to check where I work? If I say that I do freelance work near the station to which I can legally travel, are they able to check this, or are they likely to demand employment contracts etc? How about if it goes to court?

 

A key factor in that question perhaps, is that I showed the RPO that I had a valid 7 day ticket for half of my journey. He didn't look closely at it, didn't take details, made no mention of it in what he read out as my statement and there was no question of its confiscation. I didn't push this, as I thought that saying I had a 7 day season ticket to an intermediate station might open a big can of worms related to whether I make the journey regularly, was I travelling to work perhaps etc.. So, starting from where I am now, question c is

 

c Am I better off or worse if I say that I had a season ticket at the time which got me legally half way there? Should I

- Confess I did wrong on one occasion, and hope I don't get into a conversation about whether I make the journey regularly, can you provide proof of employment etc (I used to get a ticket all the way to work before the move so they must be aware of my travel history I guess and can put two and two together from my name and address!)

- Or say that the RPO ignored the fact I had a ticket halfway there, and was travelling beyond my stop on this one occasion? - risking the perhaps increased likelihood of them looking into my travel and employment history?

 

I rather think that if I speak to someone and they ask about my regular journeys, I would be flat out lying if I said worked elsewhere, but that they may only be able to find out the truth if a court's resources are bought into force - ? I guess that could happen whether or not I bring up the valid season ticket halfway there point..

 

Having written all this, perhaps my best and obvious move is to be proactive, write a letter (or email? If advisable, which?) to SWT and apologise for having got on one of their trains without buying a ticket or seeking to buy one, fall upon their mercy and ignore the part about having done it before (300 times!).

 

BTW would SWT through a court be able to seek payment for previous journeys made? I guess it would be difficult to prove exactly when I did travel, except through being able to asses my attendance at work..

 

I was a fare evader, and I know I done wrong. Bah.

 

Thanks so much again for your attention and any advice you can offer.

Edited by Soupdog
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Phew, that's a long read. :)

 

I hope the guys will be able to get here later. They seem to be a bit thin on the ground right now though, so some may be on holiday.

 

Firstly, I should say that CAG does not condone dishonesty and would encourage you to tell the truth. Having said that, occasionally the industry guys say to hold certain details back, but I can't tell if you are one of those cases.

 

From reading this forum, I would say in most cases the first contact is by letter, I'm not sure why they ask for a phone number unless it's for extra indentification. Until you hear from SWT and have a case number, there isn't much point in your contacting them because they may not be able to find the correspondence.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Just hoping to get out of a bad situation without opening unnecessary cans of worms, you understand. Not much to do now but pay up as quickly and painfully as I can - I've kind of gone off dishonesty myself!

 

And apologies for the verbosity - thought it easier to present all facts than answer related questions..

Edited by Soupdog
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a

Just hoping to get out of a bad situation without opening unnecessary cans of worms, you understand. Not much to do now but pay up as quickly and painfully as I can - I've kind of gone off dishonesty myself!

 

And apologies for the verbosity - thought it easier to present all facts than answer related questions..

By your own admission you did not have a valid ticket for the journey made, this was by design and the Toc have reported you for fare evasion. The prosecution department will contact you in approximately 6 weeks, it is only when you have the reference number that you can respond with a pleading letter offering to settle out of court, which will cost you approximately £150.

 

It is the prosecutor who decides if in this case he is willing to accept an out of court settlement.

 

Once you have received the paperwork you will know which regulation to defend, this forum has lots of information which you will find useful once you have the paperwork and charge

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Soupdog, you may know your a 'fare-evader' but until you receive a letter from the company you will not know what they know. Obviously madness then in the meantime to write to them infoorming them you are a 300x fare-dodger!!!

 

What was the exact line of questioning did the Inspector take? If he only questioned you (i.e., reported you) over that specific journey, then in all probability, it is that journey and its' evaded fare that they would prosecute you over.

 

They could still investigate further, and if you've had previous season tickets but to a terminus (say), it is not impossible that they could put two and two together. They can, and regularly do, use plain clothes Inspectors who not only follow people on train journeys, but door to door to. But that would only occur if they suspected it strongly enough.

 

To be honest, if you're serious about the '300 times' then I'd hope and pray they don't find out!!!

 

Good luck.

 

PS: @Honeybee, yes I think it's called 'Factory Fortnight'... :smile:

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I think it's called 'Factory Fortnight'... :smile:

 

 

Nice for some :lol:

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Dear all, any help in choosing between two evils would be hugely appreciated.

 

Since moving house over a year ago, I have bought a monthly / weekly ticket, which gets me legally only halfway to work. I am therefore a fully informed and conscious fare evader. I have been able to buy extensions on occasion where necessary, but have generally not had to. Sort of thing.

 

I have justified this to myself by saying that the £2,500 a year for a legal ticket was excessive (including travelcard rights which I don't use) and difficult to pay, with an extended mortgage etc. Also, I thought that if Southern and South West Trains didn't employ enough people I would take the risk of paying the odd penalty fare and be able to support the family and pay the mortgage more comfortably.. Credit crunched, but with no history of antisocial behaviour, sort of thing.

 

 

I'll be pretty blunt for a start I'm afraid, it seems that you have rationalised the benefits of theft and decided it was worth the risk

 

 

Needless to say, I ran into a SWT RPO last week, and now kind of wish I'd bought the right ticket all along. Clearly the whole thing was a bad bet, and I'm hoping that the thing now gets settled out of court, I can pay £x00 and act more responsibly. If I have to go to court, okay, but I hope not to! I realise that to have this happen again would have serious consequences, so will find the money and move on happily.

 

I was not trying to leave that station, but changing onto another train. I had already made one change and not seen a ticket seller, but I can't pretend that I was looking for one. Does the fact that I change(d) trains from one run by Southern to one run by SWT make me doubly liable, BTW?

 

 

No, the offence is that of avoiding a fare and the fare due is that payable for the intended journey.

 

 

The SWT RPO took a statement under caution. All very polite, but he didn't give me a copy of what he wrote, and he said that as his writing was illegible he would read me my "confession" - ie, from memory, that I had travelled on a South West train without a ticket, which constitutes fare evasion.

 

 

He was right to caution and interview and then to read the notes aloud to you. You should have been able to see how 'illegible' his notes were and you should have challenged anything that you could not understand.

 

 

He took my details including phone number and said that SWT trains would be in touch - implication, they wanted to speak to me before deciding how to proceed.

 

 

The idea that they will ring you first is very unlikely. They are much more likely to write to you.

 

If they feel that there is a more serious case to pursue they may allocate plain clothes staff to observe your future travel, they may even ask you to attend for further interview under caution

 

 

So, to cut a long story shortish, three questions please and I would value your advice on my best course of action.

 

a Will they really phone me and give me the Spanish Inquisition, do you think? Other follow-up responses seem to suggest that letters are sent out.

 

b Do SWT have the ability to check where I work? If I say that I do freelance work near the station to which I can legally travel, are they able to check this, or are they likely to demand employment contracts etc? How about if it goes to court?

 

A key factor in that question perhaps, is that I showed the RPO that I had a valid 7 day ticket for half of my journey. He didn't look closely at it, didn't take details, made no mention of it in what he read out as my statement and there was no question of its confiscation. I didn't push this, as I thought that saying I had a 7 day season ticket to an intermediate station might open a big can of worms related to whether I make the journey regularly, was I travelling to work perhaps etc.. So, starting from where I am now, question c is

 

c Am I better off or worse if I say that I had a season ticket at the time which got me legally half way there? Should I

- Confess I did wrong on one occasion, and hope I don't get into a conversation about whether I make the journey regularly, can you provide proof of employment etc (I used to get a ticket all the way to work before the move so they must be aware of my travel history I guess and can put two and two together from my name and address!)

- Or say that the RPO ignored the fact I had a ticket halfway there, and was travelling beyond my stop on this one occasion? - risking the perhaps increased likelihood of them looking into my travel and employment history?

 

I rather think that if I speak to someone and they ask about my regular journeys, I would be flat out lying if I said worked elsewhere, but that they may only be able to find out the truth if a court's resources are bought into force - ? I guess that could happen whether or not I bring up the valid season ticket halfway there point..

 

 

If a serious fraud case is suspected (ie; persistent fare evasion) they are likely to conduct further investigation. It is not uncommon, I once ran an operation deploying more than twenty plain clothed inspectors who were following travellers every day and some very good results were achieved in terms of proving travel persistent fraud resulting in serious penalties handed down by the Courts.

 

 

Having written all this, perhaps my best and obvious move is to be proactive, write a letter (or email? If advisable, which?) to SWT and apologise for having got on one of their trains without buying a ticket or seeking to buy one, fall upon their mercy and ignore the part about having done it before (300 times!).

 

BTW would SWT through a court be able to seek payment for previous journeys made? I guess it would be difficult to prove exactly when I did travel, except through being able to asses my attendance at work..

 

 

There are things that might be investigated, but I suggest that your best course of action at this time is to WAIT until you receive a letter from the TOC.

 

It might take up to a couple of months if they are really busy

Edited by Old-CodJA
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a

By your own admission you did not have a valid ticket for the journey made, this was by design and the Toc have reported you for fare evasion. The prosecution department will contact you in approximately 6 weeks, it is only when you have the reference number that you can respond with a pleading letter offering to settle out of court, which will cost you approximately £150.

 

It is the prosecutor who decides if in this case he is willing to accept an out of court settlement.

 

Once you have received the paperwork you will know which regulation to defend, this forum has lots of information which you will find useful once you have the paperwork and charge

 

Not entirely correct here and leads to confusion for the op and future readers.

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To all who have taken time to respond, thankyou so much. The benefit of your experience is very gratefully received. Much of what you have told me is comforting.

 

Two things to make clear; firstly, I have of course rationalised and justified persistent fare evasion to myself previously - I hope everything I've written, starting with the title of the thread, makes it clear that I am not seeking to make excuses or justify it to anyone else. No good telling you that I accidentally used my granny's freedom pass or my cat had eaten my oyster card if seeking advice on how to proceed. Truthfully, it is only since viewing previous posts on this forum that I really appreciate what a serious offence / series of offences I have committed. I suspect that persistent fare evasion has been and remains quite common on train lines without ticket barriers. I've seen others get away with it and I was tempted to try it, in reduced financial circumstances.

 

Secondly, the train company is now very welcome to view my travel etc as they wish, as I will not board a train again without a valid ticket and now feel much more at ease travelling to work without wondering whether train company staff will appear or board the train! I would strongly advise anyone else tempted to cut costs on travel in this way not to, for even a single journey. Much less stress in honesty, I find.

 

I will await contact from SWT, and see what they say. I don't think I even offered any excuses about jumping onto the train when it arrived, hoping I could buy a ticket en route and having the means and desire so to do etc etc, to the RPO - making excuses seemed somewhat pathetic at the time, so I made as short a statement as possible and left shamefaced asap. I admitted fully that I was guilty, as he stated it, of fare evasion. He made no mention of other journeys, so I can only hope that any letter I receive focusses only on this one offence - from what you've all written, I now have more hope that this will be the case. More than I deserve, if so.

 

Whatever they put to me, I will admit culpability and pay up, a wiser man. I can only hope that the matter can be settled out of court, as I haven't tried to avoid blame for the journey in question and am willing to pay any level of costs to put the whole affair behind me, saying I now recognise the seriousness.., will never again travel without.., etc - which is perfectly true. I'll refer to previous threads at that point to see what to expect next and hints on what any response should say..

 

Oh, if anyone has read this far, one final question if I may - would the initial letter from SWT prosecutions normally * invite * a response or clarification from me? - or just say that there is evidence to prosecute and this will be sent to the CPS, or whatever, so that I would have to write proactively to the sender to put my side of things and show contrition? Just wondering.

 

Thankyou once more for the benefit of your experience and guidance.

Edited by Soupdog
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They will ask for your version of events first. Which is your opportunity to say why you jumped on the train this one time and made a tragic one-off error of forgetfulness :wink: if you chose to say such a thing of course.... On a serious note, the less you said then, the more room for manouveur you have now.

 

It's good you acccept full responsibilty for your actions, buut there's no need to flagellate yourself anymore!

Good luck.

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They will ask for your version of events first. Which is your opportunity to say why you jumped on the train this one time and made a tragic one-off error of forgetfulness :wink: if you chose to say such a thing of course.... On a serious note, the less you said then, the more room for manouveur you have now.

 

It's good you acccept full responsibilty for your actions, buut there's no need to flagellate yourself anymore!

Good luck.

 

Thanks again. Am done flagellating, at least in this forum!

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I'm sorry to rain on this parade, guys, but I would mention OC's post last night, bearing in mind that he's a senior prosecutor.

 

I wasn't sure before yesterday whether further investigations can take place after an offence has been identified because I'm not a transport person. However, OC seems to indicate that it can.

 

Soupdog, I hope you're following the rules now because I understand any further problems would be serious. :)

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I'm sorry to rain on this parade, guys, but I would mention OC's post last night, bearing in mind that he's a senior prosecutor.

 

I wasn't sure before yesterday whether further investigations can take place after an offence has been identified because I'm not a transport person. However, OC seems to indicate that it can.

 

Soupdog, I hope you're following the rules now because I understand any further problems would be serious. :)

 

My best, HB

 

Will be interesting to see what swt say in their intial letter, there is always the chance that it could have been a tip off etc from a fellow traveller or any info gathered but we will see.

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  • 1 month later...

Finally ready to report back. Well, my problems seem to be over in a most surprising way. Fingers crossed! A month after my statement to the S. W. T. RPO, I received a letter from the Prosecutions office "in lieu of prosecution" and the chance to end the matter for a sum well short of £100. I'm really not sure how I got to dodge the proverbial bullet to this extent, beyond that I had never come to their attention before.

 

Perhaps it is better to have a season ticket halfway to your stated destination, rather than none - ?

From all my reading on CAG posts, I'd expected at least a letter which would allow me to explain myself and offer a sum around 5 times what they settled for in the end. I'm delighted to say the least to put the matter behind me and not to have to explain myself. I really had thought they would explore where one works, how one gets there normally etc - luckily not, as I have no record of what I paid for previously or how.

 

To CAG advisors on these matters, many, many thanks for your advice. A perusal of the advice given in this forum shows you offer advice with great patience to people who have got themselves into a fix. We panicky seekers of your help thank you for all you do.

 

To panicky people who find their way here seeking advice, the most important thing to remember is - you don't know what will happen until you hear from the company involved. Don't waste energy worrying about every possible outcome until you hear what they say.

 

And to S. W. Trains, you are a lot more forgiving than I had been led to believe elsewhere. You won't hear from me anymore! You might consider installing more ticket barriers on your suburban lines BTW, there are plenty of people who find it easy not to pay fully or at all to travel..

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Hello again and thank you for letting us know. You do seem to have got off lightly. I really hope this is a joke though? :???:

 

Perhaps it is better to have a season ticket halfway to your stated destination, rather than none - ?

My best, HB

 

 

 

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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