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Caught using altered ticket, Virgin/Megatrain - ** SETTLED BEFORE COURT **

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I am writing about an altered ticket which I attempted to use from Euston to Coventry yesterday, 01/04/14 and was consequently caught by Virgin trains personnel.


I had bought a Virgin train ticket from Euston to Coventry for Tuesday 01/03/14 at 20:03 through Megabus (aka Megatrain). Unfortunately, I hadn't read the e-ticket properly and had just seen 9:05pm. I had assumed this was my departure time (and that I would therefore arrive in Coventry around 10pm). It turns out that 9.05pm was actually my arrival time and my real departure time was 8.03pm. I realised this at approximately 7.58pm. Luckily I was just across the road from Euston and ran over to the station. Unfortunately, the departure information was no longer on the screen when I arrived and so I ended up missing the train as I didn't know the platform.


Having to get back to Coventry that evening and with only £5 to my name, I forwarded the original ticket to myself, enabling me to change the text in the email from '2003' and '8.03pm' to '2023' and '8.23pm'. I knew I was completely in the wrong here, but I saw no alternative to getting home given that I had no money left. However, it didn't cross my mind that what I was doing was fraud and a serious crime. Had I been aware of this, and the consequences if caught, I would never have even considered it. I'm only 18 and have a full 4-year scholarship at a top college in the US for September, which has now been cast in complete doubt, as I am unlikely to obtain an appropriate student visa if charged and convicted (I'm presuming so? As entry to the US is very difficult with a criminal record - I'm presuming I'd get a criminal record?)


Anyway, I showed my new email ticket to the ticket officers at Euston, where straight away alarm bells rang for them, as not all Virgin trains have Megatrain seats. This particular 8.23pm train did not. This continued for about 20 minutes, before their manager came down and scrutinised the ticket.


He asked me if I had altered with the ticket in anyway as he would be checking with Megatrain reservations, he also said (quickly and quietly) something something BTP involved. At this point I denied any alteration, still ignorant to the severity of what I'd done, and unsure of what he'd said about the 'BTP', and which time I didn't know who the BTP were. I realise I should have asked for him to repeat what he'd said, but was so caught up in the moment.


We then went to what I think was a customer services desk, where he attempted to get hold of someone who could check my reservation/booking number with Megatrain records. They then told him the real time of my ticket, 8.03pm. He asked me again if I had in any way altered my ticket and I realised that there was no point in me continuing to deny it. I told him that I had - after running for my train and just missing it and then not having any money on me it seemed like the only alternative at the time. It was at this point that he told me that what I'd done was fraud, and it was only then that I realised the severity of what I'd done.


He said that we would now go to the BTP and they would take it from here. I asked him what the BTP was and he told me the British Transport Police. Again, this really hit home and I have to be honest my head was in a spin now. I'd done something extremely stupid and severe, when it could have been prevented by somehow getting my ticket bought for me or having some money transferred to my bank account by my father (at the time of first missing my train this again didn't cross my mind).


As it was fairly late, there were no BTP officers in their office at Euston. This meant that the guy asked for my name, DoB and address and some ID. He then proceeded to caution me and then to take a statement from me. It more or less went like this:


Did you alter a Megatrain ticket to board the 20:23 train?



Why did you do this?

I had just missed my 20:03 train and didn't have any money for a new ticket.


Had you passed ticket check without being stopped, did you intend to travel on the 20:23 train with an altered ticket?



Do you have anything else to add to your defence?

No (I now realise that I should have mentioned my ignorance to the gravity of what I'd done, but at the time it was a smack in the face, I couldn't quite believe it and I was practically speechless).


I asked him what would happen from now, and I believe he said I would EITHER receive a letter OR it could go to court proceedings. Though he might have possibly said 'and' rather than 'or'.



I've done some research and others online seem to have got lucky (no correspondence from Virgin) and others have received letters threatening court action - though the latter has only concerned fare evasion rather than ticket alteration. But the whole thing is making me physically sick. I've never had any trouble at all with the law, and it's my first time attempting to travel on a train without a valid ticket, let alone altering one.


I can't help but think I'm going to get a criminal record and my whole future will be turned completely upside down. I wouldn't be able to go to uni in the US with a criminal record of fraud and my family can't afford to send me to a British university (I'm only able to go to America because I won a scholarship). Not to mention completely shattering any job prospects in the future. I feel like changing one number on an email is going to completely change my life and the crime committed is not proportional to the affect the punishment for my naivety is going to have on the rest of my life.


Does anyone have any advice?


Will I get a criminal record?


Will that affect US visa application?


If I am to receive a letter at my 'current address' and I'm not around in time to respond (I split my time between my mother's and my father's (official residence)), will this make the matter worse?


Is there a chance this can be settled out of court without harm to my criminal record?


Should I contact Virgin before they contact me and plea?


Thank you and I hope greatly for some good news. I will keep you all updated.



Also, a minor thing. As I booked through Megatrain, is this even in Virgin's jurisdiction? Megatrain's T&Cs say such an offence (of an invalid reservation number, which mine essentially was) will result only in being refused passage on their trains. See term 10) parts b to f under Megatrain Terms and Conditions: can't post links but can Google Megabus Terms and Conditions



Thank you in advance and I appreciate your time massively!

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Firstly I am not going to criticize, you already know that this was a very silly thing to do. Yes, it is in Virgin Trains jurisdiction to deal with this matter.


The best thing that you can do at this stage is to wait until you receive any letter from Virgin Trains. Once you do you will know the unique reference given to your case. There is no point in contacting them beforehand, firstly because it may cause confusion if you do not quote that reference and secondly, because there is a possibility that they might not process the report for whatever reason. These letters can take up to 6 weeks from a busy office, but I wouldn't worry about anything until you know more.


No-one can give you any more information until then.


When you do get the letter, write back promptly giving an apology and undertaking not to repeat any offence of travelling or attempting to travel without a valid ticket and await their reply.

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Hi Language


Welcome to CAG


The guys will advise as soon as they are available. It's happened, sounds like the first time, try not to worry, lets see what the guys say.


O/C already has said all that need be said at this early stage, rebel. So we do not need to contemplate- for example- the possibility of a prosecution for counterfeiting rather than merely evasion at this moment.

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A few seconds difference in posting times, looks like Old - CodJA beat me to posting first:oops:


O/C already has said all that need be said at this early stage, rebel. So we do not need to contemplate- for example- the possibility of a prosecution for counterfeiting rather than merely evasion at this moment.
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subbing (= I've posted so I get notified of later postings to this thread). As others have noted, wait and see what Virgin write (so they may well ask for 'your side of the story', while at the same time giving you an idea of where they MIGHT be headed (such as S5.3 RRA 1889). Post back with the extra info once you have the letter.

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I would also suggest making arrangements so that you have some money available should you be offered an out of court settlement.


Seeing as the Standard Class Anytime Single from London to Coventry is £72, I'd also set at least aside £100 for administrative costs etc. That way, if, and only if, Virgin Trains (via their Revenue Protection & Prosecutions agency: -Transport Investigations Ltd), decide to let you settle the matter, you can make immediate payment and close the matter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the letter today...


And I was pleasantly surprised!

They didn't even mention court action (nor the fact the ticket was altered).. just that I tried to travel without paying and have consequently been 'fined' £72 train ticket plus £50 admin fee! Not only is it a lot less than I thought... But there's not going to be any repercussions.


I'm thinking maybe because I already paid for a ticket that they didn't put me down for court action? I don't know!!


Very glad.. Just going to pay the money and move on.

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Hello again.


That's excellent news for you, although I'm sorry it's been an expensive lesson for you.


Thank you very much for letting us know, it's always good to find out how one of our caggers got on, and you will help future members who have the same problem.


I'll alter your thread title. :)



Illegitimi non carborundum




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