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Cautioned for ticket evasion when I had bought and subsequently lost a ticket. Advice needed

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Hi. Today I did a bit of a daft thing.


This morning I bought a return ticket from my local station in Wales to Bristol Templemeads.

I then feel asleep partway through the journey and awoke in a bit of a fluster just before the train was about to leave the platform at Bristol Templemeads.



Hurriedly I gathered my things and left the train.

Part way down the platform I realised I'd left my outward ticket on the train.



Now, I've done this many times before, I realised I'd have to pay the inevitable fine (£20).

Knowing my bank balance needed topping up, I decided to walk up to the ticket counter and ask for a single ticket from Filton Abbey Wood to Bristol, knowing that this would be less than the £20 and I could escape the station.



Conscience wise I felt this was OK, as I'd already paid for a return ticket and I was now handing over more money than the journey would originally cost and as a heavy user of railways I think it's right people that don't actually pay for a ticket at all get caught.


This is where things started to go badly wrong.

When asked why I didn't buy a ticket from filton,

I made a cock and bull story up about the platform being busy and not having enough time to board the train.



At this point the ticket person called what I think was a Revenue Collection Officer, who introduced himself and informed me our conversation was being recorded.



When he started to question me about what station I'd got on etc and why I hadn't bought a ticket etc, I kept to my simple story.



It was only when he said he'd need my personal details and that he'd need to check CCTV that I cracked.



I came clean and explained I'd left my ticket on the train from Cardiff and was just trying to lesson my inevitable cost.



At that point he started using words like fraud and proceeded to read me my rights.

I got a bit confused at this point and quite cross at myself for getting in to this situation.

I gave him my personal details nevertheless.



He then informed me that he wasn't an officer of the law and that he couldn't detain me.

To be honest I found this a bit odd and daft given he had just read me my rights,

I chuckled a bit and said "well in that case I'd like to leave and go to work please".



At that point he took my return ticket off me, handed me an excess ticket to get home with and let me through the barrier.


Having replayed things back in my head,

I'm now not sure where I stand, nor what outcome I can expect.



Having read up on the matter,

I'm concerned that there might be court proceedings and a conviction, which has knocked me for six a little.



I'm more than prepared to pay whatever fine comes my way, for being stupid enough to continue the dubious charade, but I certainly don't want to go to court and risk getting a conviction.


Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?

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If you lied about the station you boarded at, you could have been lying about having had a ticket from Cardiff ...... you were probably better to come clean from the start, but what is done is done ....

Your having the return portion of the ticket should have given some support to your story (though, it is possible that someone else was using your outbound ticket : "2 for 1 travel ......)


He can't detain you,but by leaving you don't get as much chance to persuade him not to report you for prosecution......


What will likely happen now is you'll get a letter off the TOC asking for your version of events. Post here again when you get the letter, noting what it is asking for. At that point you ask for an administrative settlement (not, strictly speaking "a fine"), as an alternative to being summonsed to court ......

You can ask for this, but they don't have to agree.

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and ofcourse can you prove you bought the original return ticket too?




please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..


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yep I realise I've made a grave mistake.

I can see your point about them thinking I could be lying about buying a ticket from my local station, but I did buy a ticket and I have a receipt from the ticket machine to prove I bought it.

I also used a debit card, so I can match that to my bank statement.


in my defence, I did have a valid ticket, I just lost the outward part.

I make the journey nearly every day and have always bought a ticket (I can prove that).

I have also lost my outward ticket many times before and have always paid the inevitable fine.


Why I chose not to this time round is anyone's guess..moment of madness compounded by the feeling of "it's not fair I've already bought a ticket", stress of work and the conference call I needed to open..I could go on.

I know I've made a mistake and I was probably rather abrupt at the end of the conversation, which won't help me I'm sure.


I think what I'm struggling to understand is,

unlike many posts here,

I actually bought a ticket.


What I've actually done is try to lesson the cost of a penalty by trying to purchase a shortened fare.

Is that the same thing as not having bought a ticket at all and then trying to claim a shortened fare and does it carry the same offence?


Would having a ticket in the first place (which I can prove) lessen the odds of me having to appear in court?


yes, I have a receipt and bank transaction to match that up.

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you wont be going to court nor prison

and you wont be getting a criminal record.



await the letter and we'll deal

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..


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you wont be going to court nor prison

and you wont be getting a criminal record.



await the letter and we'll deal



I am sure that the response above from dx100 is not intended to be as dismissive nor as authoritative as it might seem


Firstly, there are two offences suggested by your post, both of which can result in Court action, one of which (if convicted) can result in a criminal record and I'll explain those in a moment. The decision as to whether this proceeds is always with the Train Operatoring Company's (TOC) prosecution team.


Secondly, this forum can only suggest a course of action and cannot 'deal' with this matter for you.


i) By failing to present a valid ticket for inspection when asked you were in breach of the strict liability requirement of National Railway Byelaw 18.2 (2005). This is a less serious matter than attempting to avoid a fare, but can still result in a Court appearance and financial penalty on conviction


ii) By failing to present a valid ticket and then admitting under caution that you had offered a fare for a shorter journey than that you had actually made, you may be charged with an offence contrary to Section 5(3) of the Regulation of Railways Act [1889]. If convicted, this also has a financial penalty for a first offence, but also results in an entry on DBS, usually referred to as a 'criminal record'


The evidence of a fare paid is the valid ticket for the journey made and that is why the actual ticket for the journey, showing the correct direction of travel and to & from locations plus the fare paid, must be shown on request.


From your description, the inspector seems to have dealt with the matter perfectly correctly and he cautioned you before making a report. (It may only be seen as semantics by some, but 'read my rights' is American jargon and not applicable in the UK. The Police & Criminal Evidence Act [1984] determines the correct wording of the Caution that will have been spoken by the inspector.)


You will likely receive a letter from the TOC requesting your explanation and giving an opportunity to reply before their final decision is made.


You should reply truthfully and send the return half of the ticket that you hold, keeping a clear copy for yourself.


If the TOC do not accept your explanation when you get their reply, come back to the forum and we can suggest further response to their letter that may help.

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