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Alleged supplying false info...initial letter, need help!!!!

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muleo

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Hi Folks

I've just received an initial letter from Northern Rail prosecution, (the one that asks for your version of what happened). In a bit of a panic and would really appreciate some advice!!

Traveling from Menston to Frizinghall for work, late and jumped on the train without a ticket, assumed I could buy a ticket from the conductor (as is usually the case). Didn't see a conductor on train and got off at my station. Then I was stopped by three blokes checking for tickets.

I obviously didn't have one, I offered to pay them but was told I couldn't. They asked for ID which I didn't have on me and then for my address. I gave my correct street address but unfortunately supplied an old postcode by mistake. (i'm a bit dyslexic when it comes to sequencing and numbers and this kind of mistake is pretty common with me!!)

I realised my error when I checked the blokes notes and supplied the correct one immediately. He then phoned the address in, had it confirmed and told me I would get a letter asking me to pay the fare/penalty. I thanked him and left in a hurry for work.

I've been waiting for a letter asking me to pay the fare £4.20 and maybe a fine. But instead i've received a very official letter asking for my details and version of accounts etc. and talk of huge fines/prosecution.

I called the number listed and asked for some clarification of what I should do and a very irate/rude lady said that I couldn't pay there and then because my notes stated I had given false information to the inspector bloke. This seems ridiculous harsh. Fair enough fine me for not having a ticket (even though it's common practice to buy them on the train up here) but I made an honest mistake with my address and changed it as soon as i realised my error and before the inspector phoned it through. So i don't understand why i'm being accused of giving false information.

Any ideas of my best course of action?????
 
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yorkie

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Presumably the ticket office was open?
Traveling from Menston to Frizinghall for work...
Do you usually travel by train? If so, they may question why you do not have a Season.
late and jumped on the train without a ticket, assumed I could buy a ticket from the conductor (as is usually the case)
Again they may wonder if you are saying you usually buy your ticket from the Guard.
I've been waiting for a letter asking me to pay the fare £4.20 and maybe a fine. But instead i've received a very official letter asking for my details and version of accounts etc. and talk of huge fines/prosecution.
Yes, they will want to know your version of events before deciding to proceed.

How did you get home?
I called the number listed and asked for some clarification of what I should do and a very irate/rude lady said that I couldn't pay there and then because my notes stated I had given false information to the inspector bloke. This seems ridiculous harsh. Fair enough fine me for not having a ticket (even though it's common practice to buy them on the train up here) but I made an honest mistake with my address and changed it as soon as i realised my error and before the inspector phoned it through. So i don't understand why i'm being accused of giving false information.

Any ideas of my best course of action?????
Answer truthfully, but they are understandably going to be suspicious. At present, I would think there are a lot of unanswered questions so I can see why they would be suspicious.
 

muleo

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Thanks for the reply mate, all input helps! To answer your questions:

Yes, ticket office was open. Just the other side of the tracks and I would have missed my train. ( I work teaching children outdoor education and was late for meeting them, my fault- my 7month yr old slowing me down in the morning!)

I'm not a frequent train user, only going to a short distance twice a week. had never though about getting a season pass.

I usually buy ticket from office but (and this is where the problem lies) 99% of the time you can buy a ticket on the the train from the guard as well with no questions asked, it is common practice. They walk down the aisle offering this service and it is used by many people.

I traveled home by train, got a ticket off the guard I think.


I accept that i didn't have a ticket for travel, due to my confusion about being able to get one from a guard. What i'm more concerned about is that instead of receiving a penalty I've got this letter form the debt recovery/prosecutions team accusing me of fare evasion. I can only assume this was because I mistakenly gave my old postcode. Seems unduly harsh as i corrected the mistake once I realised....
 

island

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It's a criminal offence to join a train without a ticket at a station where the facilities to do so are available and in working order. This is irrespective of any custom or practice by which you may from time to time be permitted to buy a ticket on the train.

In all likelihood you will receive a Penalty Fake for £84.20 assuming you are a first-time offender, payment of which will bring an end to the matter.
 

Tetchytyke

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island said:
In all likelihood you will receive a Penalty Fake for £84.20 assuming you are a first-time offender, payment of which will bring an end to the matter.

I would expect so too.

If the only mistake you made in your address was the postcode, but you gave the correct number, street and town, then I cannot see why you are being accused of providing false information. If you made a mistake in other parts of the address then, yes, I can see why they would be getting suspicious.

I think you simply need to explain the situation, perhaps glossing over how often you may fail to see the guard on the train, and explain that the address you provided was primarily correct.
 

trentside

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I'd agree with the previous posters that the most likely outcome will be an £80 settlement, plus the fare owing. Given that the mistake in your address was minor, was immediately corrected and checked out then you shouldn't have too much to worry about. If they did proceed to prosecution, you can seek further advice.

When you write your statement, I'd make sure you acknowledge that you should have purchased a ticket prior to boarding and offer an apology, plus an assurance that there won't be a reoccurrence in the future.

I'm sure one of us would be happy to proof read it for you, via Private Message (PM) if you'd like?
 

Stigy

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I obviously didn't have one, I offered to pay them but was told I couldn't. They asked for ID which I didn't have on me and then for my address. I gave my correct street address but unfortunately supplied an old postcode by mistake. (i'm a bit dyslexic when it comes to sequencing and numbers and this kind of mistake is pretty common with me!!)
The postcode wouldn't constitute a false address in respect of prosecuting you for such an offence under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, especially since the rest was correct.
 

Wolfie

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The postcode wouldn't constitute a false address in respect of prosecuting you for such an offence under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, especially since the rest was correct.

l would hope, given that postcodes didn't even exist when the legislation was passed, that you are correct lol
 

najaB

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l would hope, given that postcodes didn't even exist when the legislation was passed, that you are correct lol
While I get where you're coming from, that doesn't actually have any bearing on the situation. The law has always required you to give your complete address - it doesn't specify what format that address takes.
 

andygb

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Presumably the ticket office was open?

Do you usually travel by train? If so, they may question why you do not have a Season.

Again they may wonder if you are saying you usually buy your ticket from the Guard.
Yes, they will want to know your version of events before deciding to proceed.

How did you get home?

Answer truthfully, but they are understandably going to be suspicious. At present, I would think there are a lot of unanswered questions so I can see why they would be suspicious.

Brilliant answer IMO. :D
 

Master29

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It's a criminal offence to join a train without a ticket at a station where the facilities to do so are available and in working order. This is irrespective of any custom or practice by which you may from time to time be permitted to buy a ticket on the train.

In all likelihood you will receive a Penalty Fake for £84.20 assuming you are a first-time offender, payment of which will bring an end to the matter.

I was under the impression that adequate time to purchase tickets must be allowed by the TOC`s. E.g. Something like over 5 minutes queueing time at a machine or ticket office which may be no fault of the offender, although this would be entirely up to the TOC`s discretion or the judge if it did get to court. This however would be of no use in this case, just an observation.
 

thejuggler

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It's a criminal offence to join a train without a ticket at a station where the facilities to do so are available and in working order. This is irrespective of any custom or practice by which you may from time to time be permitted to buy a ticket on the train.

Does that also include stations which 99% of the time have no facilities, but for a couple of hours Monday to Friday have sellers, but placed in such a location that their presence can only be known by passengers travelling in one direction?

Do passengers travelling in the other direction have to visit the platform they don't need to check if anyone is selling tickets?
 

Haywain

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I was under the impression that adequate time to purchase tickets must be allowed by the TOC`s. E.g. Something like over 5 minutes queueing time at a machine or ticket office which may be no fault of the offender, although this would be entirely up to the TOC`s discretion or the judge if it did get to court. This however would be of no use in this case, just an observation.
As you say, of absolutely no relevance to this case. However, it is fair to say that time to buy a ticket must be allowed by the traveller just as much as the TOC have a responsibility to provide adequate facilities. But the amount of time that must be allowed is not set down in writing and only guidelines exist, and I do not feel that these should not be relied upon as a defence.
 

Llanigraham

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Does that also include stations which 99% of the time have no facilities, but for a couple of hours Monday to Friday have sellers, but placed in such a location that their presence can only be known by passengers travelling in one direction?

Do passengers travelling in the other direction have to visit the platform they don't need to check if anyone is selling tickets?

If a ticket vending facility is available then it must be used, whilst it is available. It does not matter where it is.
 

Stigy

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While I get where you're coming from, that doesn't actually have any bearing on the situation. The law has always required you to give your complete address - it doesn't specify what format that address takes.
Indeed you're correct, however given the fact that the prosecution will be trying to prove that the defendant gave a false address so as to avoid further contact with the train operator and thus further avoiding detection (be it the fare owed, or prosecution), a postcode wouldn't affect this as you don't need a post code to contact somebody using the postal service. Leaving a post code off a letter would, at worst, delay correspondence arriving by a few days.

It could easily be argued that a postcode is easy to a) misinterpret or b) accidentally give an incorrect one. A TOC would be on a sticky wicket to try and prove a 5(3)c owing to a false post code, unless the suspect admitted they gave an incorrect one deliberately, for this reason.
 
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najaB

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A clever pun to those in the know but what does that mean to a newcomer?
Northern operate(s?) a scheme where they offer a fixed penalty of £80 plus the fare due, as an alternative to prosecution. They're referred to as 'penalty fakes' since they look and feel like penalty fares, but don't have the force of legislation behind them, or regulating them.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It could easily be argued that a postcode is easy to a) misinterpret or b) accidentally give an incorrect one. A TOC would be on a sticky wicket to try and prove a 5(3)c owing to a false post code, unless the suspect admitted they gave an incorrect one deliberately, for this reason.
I agree, and don't think the OP has anything to worry about. But if we stray into hair-splitting territory there is a difference between a missing postcode and an incorrect one. A letter will normally be delivered to the correct address if sans-postcode, however with the wrong postcode there's a chance it may be delivered to an incorrect address.

Using my local area as an example, there are two streets with similar names whose postcodes only differ by one letter in the incode. So it would be quite easy for a letter intended for one address to end up at the other were the postcode unclear/mixed up - as I've found out.
 

thejuggler

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If a ticket vending facility is available then it must be used, whilst it is available. It does not matter where it is.

Conditions only mention ticket office and self service machines. A vendor stood on a platform is neither.

I suspect the vendors are there because the rush hour services on the platfrom they service are so busy guards can't get through and passengers get annoyed having to queue to buy a ticket at their destination to exit the station. There is no such problem on services in the other direction and guards sell tickets on the train.

It is unrealistic to expect passengers to walk past the entrance to the platform they need, up a steep hill, then either up a set of steep steps or further up the steep hill to walk through the car park to check if the part time vendors are working that day, especially when all the info about the station states there are no ticket vending facilities at the station.
 
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30907

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It is unrealistic to expect passengers to walk past the entrance to the platform they need, up a steep hill, then either up a set of steep steps or further up the steep hill to walk through the car park to check if the part time vendors are working that day, especially when all the info about the station states there are no ticket vending facilities at the station.

That's as may be, but the OP travelled from Menston where none of this applies.
 

gray1404

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I'm not sure if you have to provide your postcode when they ask you. As long as you give your name, house name or number, street name and town. That is enough. A postcode if merely a method used to sort mail and does not form part of your actual address.
 

najaB

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I'm not sure if you have to provide your postcode when they ask you. As long as you give your name, house name or number, street name and town. That is enough.
The issue though isn't that the OP didn't provide their postcode, but rather that they provided an incorrect one.
A postcode if merely a method used to sort mail and does not form part of your actual address.
That was certainly the reason for their introduction, but in real-life applications they have moved on beyond that and serve as a key for databases that impact on many facets of modern life, such that a building number and postcode is sufficient to uniquely identify most UK addresses.
 

Llanigraham

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Conditions only mention ticket office and self service machines. A vendor stood on a platform is neither.

I suspect the vendors are there because the rush hour services on the platfrom they service are so busy guards can't get through and passengers get annoyed having to queue to buy a ticket at their destination to exit the station. There is no such problem on services in the other direction and guards sell tickets on the train.

It is unrealistic to expect passengers to walk past the entrance to the platform they need, up a steep hill, then either up a set of steep steps or further up the steep hill to walk through the car park to check if the part time vendors are working that day, especially when all the info about the station states there are no ticket vending facilities at the station.

I did not mention a vendor, full or part time. I specifically said vending facilities! That can cover people, offices and machines.

I suggest you read the legislation in detail. If it is "up a steep hill" or "through a car park", to put it bluntly, tough! If there are ticket vending facilities available then they have to be used before you get on the train.
 

Stigy

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Conditions only mention ticket office and self service machines. A vendor stood on a platform is neither.
I suspect you're confusing the legal requirement to buy a ticket, with the Conditions of Carriage.

Byelaws state in layman's terms, that you should have a ticket before boarding a train for the purpose of travel. The only exception to this is if there were no facilities for whatever reason available where one starts their journey. It's not specific to what facilities.
 
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Tetchytyke

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in real-life applications they have moved on beyond that and serve as a key for databases that impact on many facets of modern life, such that a building number and postcode is sufficient to uniquely identify most UK addresses.

Regardless of the convenience of postcodes for database managers, it does not form part of the address. It isn't even required for posting mail.

Llanigraham said:
I did not mention a vendor, full or part time. I specifically said vending facilities! That can cover people, offices and machines.

I suggest you read the legislation in detail. If it is "up a steep hill" or "through a car park", to put it bluntly, tough! If there are ticket vending facilities available then they have to be used before you get on the train.

Much of this is academic, as Menston has a ticket office, but if a station is listed on NRES as not having ticket selling facilities it would be tough for a TOC to argue that a bloke with an Advantix in a morning is a ticket selling opportunity.
 

najaB

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Regardless of the convenience of postcodes for database managers, it does not form part of the address. It isn't even required for posting mail.
I know that. But what we are discussing isn't a missing postcode, but rather supplying an incorrect one. Since house number+postcode is enough to uniquely identify an address, supplying an incorrect postcode *could* be argued to be providing a false address.
 

yorkie

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I suggest you read the legislation in detail. If it is "up a steep hill" or "through a car park", to put it bluntly, tough! If there are ticket vending facilities available then they have to be used before you get on the train.

I wouldn't be so sure that this always applies. I've used Menston station a few times, but have not inspected the relevant signage. But, at Garforth, the signage does (or certainly did) state that if the ticket office is closed you may buy on the train. Although there is a solitary TVM at Garforth, it is hidden and no mention of it is (or was) mentioned on the poster by the main entrance. Without knowing the exact details at Menston it is difficult to comment accurately.

Also, without knowing the method of payment, it can be difficult to comment, as I'm not aware of any TVM that accepts the full range of valid payment methods, some are more limited than others...

In this specific case, talk of TVMs is completely redundant because we established in post #3 that the ticket office was open at the time the journey commenced.

I traveled home by train, got a ticket off the guard I think..
One thing I would add was whether you got a single or a return. If it was me, I'd have asked for a return from Menston to Frizinghall, taken a photo of the ticket and either emailed them the photo and an explanation, or post the original (while keeping a photo for my records). They may of course still have asked for you to pay the £80 settlement because you didn't pay at the first opportunity, but you could argue that you did pay for the fare so the fare itself was paid for.

In another case, a passenger bought a single for the return leg and requested to only pay the difference (Revenue protection took my details - Unstaffed station) but his case was rather different to yours, because there was not an open ticket office at the origin station. So I'm not sure I'd be prepared to argue you should only be paying the difference. However it may be worth mentioning to them that you did buy a ticket for the return journey and enclosing the evidence of this.

I'm not a frequent train user, only going to a short distance twice a week. had never though about getting a season pass.
You may want to mention that you only do the journey infrequently, as they may otherwise suspect that you are travelling daily for commuting purposes. I believe they may be particularly concerned about people who travel daily and who you'd expect to buy a Season but do not do so because they hope to get away with it most days.

I agree with others that you are likely to be asked to pay an £80 out of court settlement (which, just to reassure you, is not a fine and no record is made of this other than within the train company itself). However, once you have paid one of these, you do need to be extremely careful not to be in such a position for future journeys because next time they could either only agree to settle for a much larger sum, or prosecute you.
 
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