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Punishment to fit the crime, in first class for 3 stops and accused of providing false details - **SETTLED**

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New to this forum and would really appreciate some help:

 

This morning I was stopped by a revenue collection officer in 1st class, I was travelling 3 stops between London St Pancras and London Blackfriards (8 minute journey). I had has swiped in using my Oyster Card.I was in First Class as at the train was busy and at the time I believed that first class was de-restricted in central London at peak times, I was sure I had read this on a notice or heard an announcement. I now understand that this was incorrect and I acknowledge this error.I was asked for a ticket by the inspector and I explained my understanding. I was then advised I would need to pay a £20 penalty.

 

I was asked for my name and address which I wrote on in the inspectors book. Shortly after this I was asked if I had provided the correct details and I realised I had not. I had incorrectly written the incorrect house number. The inspector told me I had provided false details and thus I understand a prosecution may now be pending?

 

Now I know what youre all thinking, and so did the ticket inspector, I insisted to him and do so to you that I hadn’t intended to provide false details. My account for this was that I was quite embarrassed having been confronted in the first class carriage and wasn’t concentrating, I think I started writing the date (perhaps believing it was 15th), I was also distracted during the process of writing my details by the inspector asking me questions as well as the embarrassment I was feeling.It was not my intention to provide false details and I do not believe I did, immediately when the inspector questioned my about my name and address I confirmed my mistake verbally.Im now very concerned about the potential consequences, not least as the inspector was very insinuating and didn’t allow me to explain myself correctly, it just seemed he was out to throw the book at me. I now understand I could bebe prosecued? (details at bottom from First Capital Connect Revenue Collection Policy)

 

I work in a highly regulated financial environment and any prosecutions or court case will impact my career and prevent me from finding further work. Im concerned about the potential wider consequences! . Could this incident work against me, how will it be recorded? criminal offence, potential file which will show up on detailed CRB checks?I accept that I was mistaken and wrongly travelled in First Class but im keen to ensure the consequences do not get out of proportion to the events. In particular the accusation of providing incorrect details (I don’t understand why he thought I would do that?)

 

Im now worried ill be potentially prosecuted for what was in essence a misunderstanding and being a bit flustered/distracted by the whole situation.

 

Questions:

1) What do you think is likely to happen now? Is it likely that the Prosecutions Team will offer me a settlement e.g. £20

2) What can I do to avoid a prosecution/going to court or records being kept that will show up on any CRB/Court records checks

3) Do you know how the process works re prosecution, can you settle and avoid court/records being kept?

4) Does this situation potentially end up with a court record/impact on CRB searches

5) What should I do next?

6) Could a solicitor help?

 

Thank you so much, im really worried, seems a rediculous situation to be in but I accept I did wrong.

 

Prosecutions

There are a number of situations where we may choose toproceed with a prosecution, such as:

• Where we believe you have intentionally or fraudulentlytravelled without the correct ticket

• Where you refuse to pay, or cannot pay, for your journey

• Where you provide false details to us whilst being issued aPenalty Fare

• Where you have received a high number of Penalty Farespreviously, and we therefore decide that you intended toavoid payment

• Where we believe you have altered dates on tickets (includingCarnet tickets)

 

Where we decide to prosecute, our authorised collector will caution you and ask if you understand the caution. A statement will then be taken and you will be asked to sign it.Once completed, a copy will be sent to our prosecutions team, who will write to you asking for your version of events.When you receive this letter please do not ignore it. This is youropportunity to explain what happened so that we can make afull assessment on whether or not we should refer the matter to a court.

Edited by BarleyGB

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Apologies all, ive tried 3x to edit the text but for some reason its not accepting paragraphs.

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I have to say that your explanation that you (a) thought that first class was declassified and (b) that you accidentally provided false details, will not convince the TOC as they have heard these excuses time and time again.

 

I would wait for the letter and come back for advice. You may be lucky and not be contacted. If you get a letter, there are 3xperts on here who will give sound advice


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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It is very likely that prosecution may ensue and if the house number that you wrote down was substantially different from your actual address then that excuse is not going to get much sympathy from Magistrates either

 

When you receive the letter from the TOC, come back and tell us exactly what it says with all personal details removed.

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It was 1 digit of my house number which was incorrect, my full name and postcode was correct, though the revenue officer said one letter of my postcode looked like another.

 

Is it really better to wait for the letter from TOC, would a frank and open appology and acknowledgement of my mistake show that im accepting what ive done wrong and that i want to deal with it? Or is it like you suggest better to wait? I feel that showing willing would show positive character?

 

I feel in a desperate state, its been on my mind all day and I cant sleep. Can it really be possible that my career and all ive worked for be at risk for 10 minutes of stupidity?

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Thanks for the advice so far everyone.

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You told the inspector there and then that you had written down a number incorrectly. You immediately corrected it. The inspector walked away with the correct details. I find it very difficult to see how this could be seen as deliberately providing false details ... I think prosecution is very unlikely.


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You told the inspector there and then that you had written down a number incorrectly. You immediately corrected it. The inspector walked away with the correct details. I find it very difficult to see how this could be seen as deliberately providing false details ... I think prosecution is very unlikely.

 

 

There are many cases of such incidents that have been successfully prosecuted.

 

 

 

 

It was 1 digit of my house number which was incorrect, my full name and postcode was correct, though the revenue officer said one letter of my postcode looked like another.

 

Is it really better to wait for the letter from TOC, would a frank and open appology and acknowledgement of my mistake show that im accepting what ive done wrong and that i want to deal with it? Or is it like you suggest better to wait? I feel that showing willing would show positive character?

 

I feel in a desperate state, its been on my mind all day and I cant sleep. Can it really be possible that my career and all ive worked for be at risk for 10 minutes of stupidity?

 

 

I'm going to play 'Devil's Advocate' for a moment so let's look at it from the inspector's point of view.

 

One digit of a number may make a substantial difference. For example, I may live at number '21' in a street and write down '91'.

 

Only one digit is different, but that is clearly a false address. If an inspector accepted it as 'my' address, which is what it had been given as, then I would not receive mail regarding the issue and therefore have provided evidence that may well confirm the inspector's suspicion that I intended to commit the offence.

 

There has been widespread publicity concerning comedian Sean Lock receiving a substantial fine for travelling first class on a standard class ticket over the past week or so and I am therefore surprised that you should have thought it OK.

 

As I posted earlier, I would wait for the letter from the rail company and try not to worry too much. Once you receive that letter, which can take 6-8 weeks at busy times, you will know exactly what you are dealing with and we may be able to help you further.

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I totally understand from the inspectors view, those views may also be justly held by commentators here. I know that I did wrong and accept that.p>

 

I visited the Prosecution office this morning to find out more about my options, likely course of action, also perhaps in the vein hope I could deal with the matter in person if there was a customer services desk

 

p>I was given a number an office number and advised to ring. Spoke to a very nice, helpful lady who while confirming I she counldnt comment on the specifics until they recieved the inspectors report did advise that in the circumstances I described these cases often go to prosecution. She also advised that at that stage they can be open to settlement and the prosecution withdrawnThe lady took my details and provided the name of the prosecuting officer who would probably deal with the case. It was suggested I wait for their letter, write in (and or call) at which point I can put my casep>

 

I would really appreciate any help anyone can offer once I get the letterp>

Edited by honeybee13

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Hello again.

 

This is why we tell people to await the letter, but I hope speaking to someone may have helped you. Certainly come back to us when you have the letter and we know what their case is, should they decide to pursue it. We'll help you to write once we know what's what.

 

You need to be patient now, the letters don't normally arrive very quickly, I'm afraid. :)

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I am very familiar with this train line, using it daily, although not between the stations which you mention.

 

The ticket inspectors on this line are, in my opinion, little more than thugs. They wear wollen caps to their eyelines, tattooed hands and necks etc. They behave in an aggressive manner to befit their appearance. I am sure FCC know this and feel it benefits their business operations. They often do large ticket checks at Elephant and Castle and it is as well that the British Transport Police are there as seeing such a group of people would put anyone on edge and having police there means you won't get your wallet nicked.

 

On top of this, I find them to have quite the lack of knowledge and they will give fines and issue threats in the first instance without checking their facts.

 

Now, you mention that you believed that there would be declassified first class through central London. From my station, on which the trains run along that same stretch up to five times an hour, only 2 or 3 trains have first class accomodation and therefore, on those that don't, if you are sitting in first class, there is nothing they can do.

 

I had one of these lunatics issue me with a fixed penalty notice for sitting in first class. I told him that it was not a first class service. He aggressively insisted it was and I began to doubt myself so I paid up the £20. He was threatening court action if I did not pay up on the spot. He could barely conceal the tattoos down his wrists, chinese writing, had a little bumfluff moustache to make himself appear more authoritative.

 

I got off the train, checked the timetable on the wall and, lo and behold, no 1 over the service.

 

I had to appeal it and I got my £20 back after a long wait. It was satisfying in itself but I wish it hadn't happened at all.

 

 

So, make sure the service is advertised as having 1st class. If it is to Sutton / Wimbledon, the chances are that it doesn't. Don't expect that because this joker had a tie on that he knows what he is up to at all. Search for the train departure that you were on and look for a 1 over the service.

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I am very familiar with this train line, using it daily, although not between the stations which you mention.

 

The ticket inspectors on this line are, in my opinion, little more than thugs. They wear wollen caps to their eyelines, tattooed hands and necks etc. They behave in an aggressive manner to befit their appearance. I am sure FCC know this and feel it benefits their business operations. They often do large ticket checks at Elephant and Castle and it is as well that the British Transport Police are there as seeing such a group of people would put anyone on edge and having police there means you won't get your wallet nicked.

 

On top of this, I find them to have quite the lack of knowledge and they will give fines and issue threats in the first instance without checking their facts.

 

Now, you mention that you believed that there would be declassified first class through central London. From my station, on which the trains run along that same stretch up to five times an hour, only 2 or 3 trains have first class accomodation and therefore, on those that don't, if you are sitting in first class, there is nothing they can do.

 

I had one of these lunatics issue me with a fixed penalty notice for sitting in first class. I told him that it was not a first class service. He aggressively insisted it was and I began to doubt myself so I paid up the £20. He was threatening court action if I did not pay up on the spot. He could barely conceal the tattoos down his wrists, chinese writing, had a little bumfluff moustache to make himself appear more authoritative.

 

I got off the train, checked the timetable on the wall and, lo and behold, no 1 over the service.

 

I had to appeal it and I got my £20 back after a long wait. It was satisfying in itself but I wish it hadn't happened at all.

 

 

So, make sure the service is advertised as having 1st class. If it is to Sutton / Wimbledon, the chances are that it doesn't. Don't expect that because this joker had a tie on that he knows what he is up to at all. Search for the train departure that you were on and look for a 1 over the service.

 

 

 

We've done the necessary where the OP is concerned, there is little that can be done if and until the OP gets a letter, but I felt that I just had to comment on what appears to be a blinding example of discriminatory prejudice in relation to appearance.

 

I don't have any tattoos, I don't have any piercings, I don't have a fashionable hair style .... natural baldness doesn't count I guess....... I'm far too old to worry about that and never did when I was younger, I don't believe that it is ever right to judge any man or woman by their appearance, this world seems far to obsessed with imagery as it is

 

Just because someone has a few tattoos and may have a shaven head or small moustache shouldn't be reason to assume that he is likely to 'nick your wallet' should it.

 

Your comments about skill or lack of it cannot be justified by reference to how someone looks

Edited by Old-CodJA

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I am very familiar with this train line, using it daily, although not between the stations which you mention.

 

The ticket inspectors on this line are, in my opinion, little more than thugs.

I am very familiar with this train line, using it daily, including between the stations which you mention.

 

The ticket inspectors on this line are, in my opinion, extremely courteous and professional, even while being racially abused by business suited people outraged that they should be challenged merely for not paying for their journey. Something I've witnessed several times over the years.

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I will just copy/paste what I put in the thread on MSE for you...

 

 

They could go straight to court with this, but you'll find a lot of TOCs don't for first offences. If they believed that the address issue was a delliberate attempt to avoid contact, they'll more than likely be less lenient. Basically, factors such as more than one offence at the same time and/or abuse towards staff would often make the company less likely to settle the matter administratively. It'll cost you more than £20 if they do settle, but anything's better than court for you I guess?

 

The actual impact of a prosecution against you much depends on on what the charge is. For example, if charged under Byelaw 19 of the National Railway Byelaws (2005), the maximum fine is £1000 plus court costs etc. In reality, the norm is a fine equating to half the average wage (£200), 10% victim surcharge (so £20 in most cases...This goes to victims of crime charity), FCC's costs (around £100 I'd imagine) and any compensation owed (the fare, or difference in fare in this case).

 

If charged with fare evasion (s.5(3)a of Regulation of Railways Act 1889.....And more than likely 5(3)c in this case, if there's enough evidence to suggest false address too) the max fine is still £1000, but imprisonment is possible on subsequent offences of same nature (n/a in your case). The penalties are typically twice that of Byelaws appart from the TOCs cost and compo (£400 fine etc).

 

Byelaws are non-recordable on Police National Computer, RRA1889 offences are. So, where all of the possible convictions are criminal matters, only the latter would possible affect your job as there's no paper trail. However, if on a CRB you're asked if you've ever been convicted of a criminal offence, you'd be lying if you said 'no'....

 

Reference the details, something like a door number (as long as it is just the door number!) could be argued by yourself due to stress etc, and unless you admitted your intention was to avoid further contact from FCC and thus the fare due, I'd imagine they'd not bother with that one personally.

Edited by Stigy

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I will reiterate that, in my experience, the ticket inspectors on that line are intimidating in appearance, intimidating in their manner and quick to issue penalties without grounds. Please ensure that the service in question was scheduled to have first class accommodation.

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I will reiterate that, in my experience, the ticket inspectors on that line are intimidating in appearance, intimidating in their manner and quick to issue penalties without grounds. Please ensure that the service in question was scheduled to have first class accommodation.

 

Just because a train is not scheduled to have first class accommodation, does not mean that standard class customers can automatically enter and use that area. There is no contractual or statutory right to do so - in fact - it is a criminal offence unless it is made explicitly clear that the first class section is declassified, (posters etc), or an authorised person gives permission to sit in such an area.

 

The absence of a footnote etc in a timetable does not necessarily mean an area is automatically declassified. Some train companies do officially allow such practices, others don't. They'd also be entitled to withdraw or provide such a concession at any time.

 

Although I do accept there is a bit of an urban myth surrounding this.

 

 

Except with permission from an authorised person, no person shall remain in

any seat, berth or any part of a train where a notice indicates that it is

reserved for a specified ticket holder or holders of tickets of a specific class,

except the holder of a valid ticket entitling him to be in that particular place.

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Every FCC Inspector i have encountered has been friendly and helpful and smart in appearance despite the abuse they get from some of the people that we would call "respectable" at first glance (only to find out that they are bankers.....), on all FCC trains that have first class there are numerous notices stating in great detail the consequences of occupying that area without a first class ticket so ignorance cannot be a defence here, however, the OP does accept that they were in the wrong. I would wait until they write to you and try to state your case, chances are they will settle out of court anyway.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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So is the consensus amongst those in the know that the service not having first class scheduled is not a defence in this instance?

 

And where are you finding all these "smart" FCC people!?! Certainly not where I go.

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So is the consensus amongst those in the know that the service not having first class scheduled is not a defence in this instance?

 

And where are you finding all these "smart" FCC people!?! Certainly not where I go.

 

Unless permission from an authorised person has been obtained, first class accommodation that is marked up as such, cannot be used by standard class ticket holders. (Byelaw 19).

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Unless permission from an authorised person has been obtained, first class accommodation that is marked up as such, cannot be used by standard class ticket holders. (Byelaw 19).

 

 

Yes, they could go straight to Summons, but I would expect that any alleged offender will receive a N.I.P and will therefore get an opportunity to explain their actions first.

 

The letter will probably arrive in due course.

Edited by Old-CodJA

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Certain routes do not have First Class fares, and from what I gather, certain trains in the peak are declassified. The TOC I work for have trains with First Class units on certain routes whereby there's no First Class applicable for the whole route. They used to have an automated announcement to this effect but don't anymore. Obviously the staff know there's no First Class so no problems would arise anyway. It will usually be obvious which services are de-classified due to the time of day, as de-classifying a train in every peak time will obviously cause confusion, therefore staff will announce this. If there's no announcement, the passenger shouldn't assume that it is declassified. Guards often use their discretion and de-classify it due to over crowding etc, and that's up to them. From experience, a little '1' on a timetable can mean anything. Thelife, have you checked the key on the timetable? ;)

Edited by Stigy

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Thanks for the advice so far, I have now received a letter from FCC.

 

Firstly, where do I stand in terms of commentating on the potential case online? Is it acceptable providing I dont provide any personal details?

 

 

 

 

The letter is tittled 'Notice of intention to prosecute', it states the time of the event and the train I was travelling on (by originating station / departure time and destination). It states I was stopped and questioned in regard to the alleged offence(s)

  • Remain in a reserved seat, berth, or train without an appropriate ticket
  • Giving a false address

The letter then asks for a response from the passenger (information should be factual and honest).

 

1) What should I do now? I guess I just need to repond with my version of events similar to my original post, obviously sticking to the key facts.

 

2) Would any of you be willing to review my response before I send it (is it appropriate to post here providing I remove personal details?)

 

3) Is it worth me contacting them via phone to clarify their understanding of events (theyve not provided any details of what the inspector wrote down)

 

4) Is this the point to put a case for a compromise, plead for some discretion?

 

For info, ive contacted by MP to explain whats happened and how worried I am, hopefully he can offer some advice or support a case for amicable settlement, im not sure if it will help but who knows?

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Thanks for the advice so far, I have now received a letter from FCC.

 

Firstly, where do I stand in terms of commentating on the potential case online? Is it acceptable providing I dont provide any personal details?

 

 

 

 

The letter is tittled 'Notice of intention to prosecute', it states the time of the event and the train I was travelling on (by originating station / departure time and destination). It states I was stopped and questioned in regard to the alleged offence(s)

 

  • Remain in a reserved seat, berth, or train without an appropriate ticket
  • Giving a false address

The letter then asks for a response from the passenger (information should be factual and honest).

 

1) What should I do now? I guess I just need to repond with my version of events similar to my original post, obviously sticking to the key facts.

 

2) Would any of you be willing to review my response before I send it (is it appropriate to post here providing I remove personal details?)

 

3) Is it worth me contacting them via phone to clarify their understanding of events (theyve not provided any details of what the inspector wrote down)

 

4) Is this the point to put a case for a compromise, plead for some discretion?

 

For info, ive contacted by MP to explain whats happened and how worried I am, hopefully he can offer some advice or support a case for amicable settlement, im not sure if it will help but who knows?

 

Hello again.

 

If you don't mind my saying, I think you should slow down a bit, I can see that your mind is racing.

 

I have to say that in a few years of being on this forum, I haven't seen anyone's MP help them. I could be wrong about what input they could offer.

 

As I understand things, responding to your questions above.

 

1. Be honest and stick to key facts, I would think.

 

2. I think posting up your proposed and anonymised response is a good idea, it's worked before.

 

3. I'm not sure they'll tell you, but the transport guys will know.

 

4. Not sure what you mean. You would normally express sincere regret, if that's how you feel and ask if they would be prepared to consider a settlement before this goes to court if you pay the fare and their reasonable admin expenses. This bit isn't my forte, hopefully the transport guys will tell you more about this.

 

How long do you have to reply please?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hello again.

 

If you don't mind my saying, I think you should slow down a bit, I can see that your mind is racing.

 

I have to say that in a few years of being on this forum, I haven't seen anyone's MP help them. I could be wrong about what input they could offer.

 

As I understand things, responding to your questions above.

 

1. Be honest and stick to key facts, I would think.

 

2. I think posting up your proposed and anonymised response is a good idea, it's worked before.

 

3. I'm not sure they'll tell you, but the transport guys will know.

 

4. Not sure what you mean. You would normally express sincere regret, if that's how you feel and ask if they would be prepared to consider a settlement before this goes to court if you pay the fare and their reasonable admin expenses. This bit isn't my forte, hopefully the transport guys will tell you more about this.

 

How long do you have to reply please?

 

HB

 

 

Yes, HB is spot-on

 

You cannot force the pace of action, but giving an honest, factual account of what occurred is imperative.

 

By all means post a copy of your intended letter, with all personal details from which you can be identified removed and we will be able to offer constructive suggestions if necessary.

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Honeybee, I dont mind anyone saying anything and would rather people be frank, honest and give opinions even if they aren’t what I want to hear.

 

My mind is definitely racing, im a thinker, this has become all consuming for me this week, im desperately worried about the potential consequences. Im struggling to reconcile that an 8 minute train journey to work could have a potentially profound impact on my life.

 

I have 14 days to reply so will draft a response tomorrow. Im also tempted to call the prosecutions team to see if I can get a feel for how the ground lies and if theyll be willing to discuss/agree a settlement?

Edited by BarleyGB

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