caught at the station by inspectors

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delvin

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Hello. I´d like to ask you for your help, any advice. Me and my friend were stopped by inspectors in Tottenham Hale station /East London/. We had Oyster cards, but we didn´t use them in the beginning of our short journey. So we said to inspectors that we didn´t know how much money we had on oyster and what is the fare. We just panicked. We travelled from Enfield Lock to Tottenham Hale. I did this after long time, that I travelled by train and didn´t use oyster card or valid ticket. My fault. There is no evidence in oyster card history that we ever used to travel to/from enfield lock. I use a car to get to/from work. I used train after maybe 2 months. But my friend is travelling by train 3 times a week without ticket, just oyster card. There is just evidence that he is using Tottenham hale station for tube. They took our details, asked some questions about journey /where we started journey, why we turned back when we saw inspectors at the station if we want to pay a penalty fare/, and they said we gonna get a letter from railways about "caution." I regret my action in front of inspector and I told him, that I´m aware of my fault. Unlucky for me, I was caught second time in 3 months. And I used train only once, as today. I paid penalty fare of 20 pounds same day. Could you tell me what can I expect now with this letter? They said to us, that after receiving letter we have to call some telephone number. Don´t know more, they didn´t tell anything what will happen next. Will we go to court? I´m really stressed now, don´t have any any idea, what´s going on, any advice, I will be really greatful. Thanks.
 
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LexyBoy

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Welcome to the forum.

From what you've said I would expect you and your friend will receive letters outlining the train company's (Greater Anglia's) intent to prosecute. This will be either under Byelaw 18(2) or Section 5 of the Regulation of the Railways Act:

Byelaw 18 covers anyone who is unable to show a valid ticket when asked, and is a very easy prosecution which the company will certainly win if it goes to court. The penalty is a fine of up to £1000, more usually £200-300

Section 5 of RoRA is more serious as it involves showing intent to evade the fare. This is harder to prosecute (it requires more evidence) but carries harsher penalties and will show up on your criminal record.

From what you've said, you could both be prosecuted under RoRA S5, as you have a history of fare evasion which is backed up by the previous Penalty Fare and Oyster history. However, often TOCs go for a Byelaw 18 prosecution as it's easier for them and they have a guaranteed conviction.

What exactly did you tell the inspectors? If you gave them any reason to suspect you have been doing this regularly then this is likely to have been taken down in evidence.

Finally, although people on here are generally helpful, bear in mind that many members work for the railways in various capacities and so are unlikely to take kindly to someone who admits to regularly defrauding their employers.
 
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cuccir

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Hello,

Well your situation isn't great on the face of what you've said here. We - or at least someone here - can probably tell you what to expect.

However to do so you'll have to clarify what has happened. At the moment this is my understanding. Is it correct? If not please post again what happened!

a.You and your friend were stopped by inspectors at Tottenham Hale. You had travelled from Enfield Lock and had not bought a ticket or validated your Oyster cards. You did not know how much money you had on your Oyster cards.

b. You gave your details to the inspectors and received a penalty fare of £20 which you paid the same day. You were told that you would receive a letter soon. Have you recevied that letter yet? If so what does it say? Does it say that you are being prosecuted, and if so does it say what you are being prosecuted for?

c. You say that you were caught the second time in 3 months? Was the occasion you describe the first time or the second time? No need to give details here about the other journey, it would just be useful to know which happened first!
 

delvin

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So once again.

We got off the train at Tottenham hale station. /greater anglia train/
We went upstairs and we saw inspectors. We turned around /bad idea/ and 2 inspectors stopped us. Asked for a ticket, we showed them oyster cards. We told them that we did not know how much money we had on our Oyster cards and didn´t know how much is the ticket. That´s why we did not "clock in" oyster cards.
After that they asked for our names, adresses, contact details.

Here are facts:
I didn´t use train service since I was cought approximately 2/3 months ago. When they cought me I paid 20 pounds. After that I started to use a car.
Me and my friend, we used oyster card just to travel by tube from Tottenham Hale to Walthastow and opposite. So that´s the only history what we have on oyster cards.
My friend is using this journey /tottenham - walthamstow/ 3 times a week.
There is no evidence in oyster card about Enfield Lock.

What I said to inspectors?
We travelled from Enfield lock without "clocking in" our oyster, as I said before we didnt know how much credit we had on our oyster cards..
That for my journey I´m using a car.
That I´m aware that I made a mistake and I regret it. That I thought it´s enought just to clock out.
Also I asked if I can just pay the penalty fare and go away.

So they scanned our oyster card, told us how much money we have.

After that one of them told me about "caution", if I know what does it mean and that will be better to answer his questions. He recorded everything to his diary.

Last thing what he said was, that we have to wait to get letters from railways and then call to some number in the letter. That´s it. I have no idea what will happen next. I never had any troubles with police or inspectors, or anyone. My friend too...

I will appriciate any help or advice, what can we do after recieving letters. It can be around 1 month to wait?
 

yorkie

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You appear to admit guilt, it's down to whether or not they can gather all the information and proceed with the more serious Regulation of Railways Act prosecution (for which they have to prove intent to avoid payment - which should be easy in this case - and the offence is recordable) or 'let you off' with only a Section 18 Byelaw prosecution (for which the fine is less, they do not have to prove intent, and the offence is not recordable).

You could try writing an apologetic letter, offering to settle out of court (be prepared to pay around £200 each), however you'll need to wait for them to get back to you first.
 

bb21

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I'm afraid that there is not very much board members can do to help you in your case before you receive any communication from the railway company.

As has been mentioned, the fact that this is the second time you have been caught will not be looked on favourably by the company.

There have been a number of cases where out-of-court settlements were reached and you might wish to do a search using the keyword "prosecution" and have a read through them. Unfortunately most of these cases involve first-time offenders so you will in all likelihood not be able to get off as lightly.

I am going to lock this thread in order to prevent any irrelevant speculation. Once you have received formal communication from the company, please feel free to PM me or another member of staff so that the thread can be reopened if you wish.
 

delvin

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Hi to all. So after one month my friend got a letter from prosecution unit:

"on xxxx april 2012 at Tottenham Hale station a person giving the above name and address was questioned by a member of rail staff about the payment a rail fare. All the available evidence is being considered as to whether legal proceedings are appropriate. If you consider that there are further mitigating factors that may influence any decision that may be made about this matter you are invited to respond, within 14 days of the date of this letter using the enclosed Freepost envelope. If you wish to make any comments about the incident, please do so on reverse of this letter. Please ensure that all details below are completed and returned to ensure our records are correct. "

At the bottom of the list they asking for his details: name, address, post code, NI Number, occupation, date of birth, telephone number...

If someone has experience with similar letter, could you give me any advice, if he should fill in all details or just to confirm name, address, post code..

Should he write any statements on back page of the letter regreting his action and apologize? Or just send back details.

As I understand that´s just common letter which prosecution unit sending to offenders..

Thank you for your replies.
 

island

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I don't know if they have any business asking for an NI number, but that's just me.

I can confirm that it is a standard letter.
 

AntoniC

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I wouldnt give my National Insurance Number to anyone , as its a prime identifier and can be used fraudulently.

The only reason I can think they are asking for it is so they can check with HMRC if you live where you say you do BUT thats a breach of the Data Protection Act as far as I`m aware (and I work for HMRC).

Challenge them as to why they are asking for it, but provide all the other info they have asked for.
 

142094

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Probably just a way of checking the name and address are correct.

I would be very suprised if HMRC or any government agency would allow a TOC to use a National Insurance number to check someone's name and address.
 

AntoniC

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I would be very suprised if HMRC or any government agency would allow a TOC to use a National Insurance number to check someone's name and address.

The Police and the Security Services have a legal right to request that info from HMRC, but even they have to do it properly.

There is no way a private co like a TOC should be able to request it IMHO
 

142094

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The Police and the Security Services have a legal right to request that info from HMRC, but even they have to do it properly.

There is no way a private co like a TOC should be able to request it IMHO

No doubt they would not. Sometimes it is hard enough one government department getting information from HMRC, compared to how a TOC would.
 

AntoniC

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No doubt they would not. Sometimes it is hard enough one government department getting information from HMRC, compared to how a TOC would.

It sounds like you may have been (un)fortunate with your dealings with HMRC ?, dont worry its just as bad for the staff !
 

142094

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It sounds like you may have been (un)fortunate with your dealings with HMRC ?, dont worry its just as bad for the staff !

I used to work in one of the government agencies that had to deal with the HMRC. Let's just say it wasn't a straightforward process.
 

AntoniC

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I used to work in one of the government agencies that had to deal with the HMRC. Let's just say it wasn't a straightforward process.

At least you got out before you became institionalised ! - me with the years I have done, I would serve LESS time in prison for murder ! (but I have my gold -plated pension to look forward to ... NOT).
 

142094

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Worst thing was is that I could see the department that would have dealt with the information in HMRC from my desk. It would have been quicker walking across to get the info, rather than do what we had to do.
 

CNash

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For future reference - if you don't know how much money is on your Oyster card, touch in at your starting station anyway. If you don't have enough to travel, "Seek Assistance" will flash up, and you can then go and top it up at one of the ticket machines (or at a corner shop with Oyster facilities, etc.)

However, if your credit is equal to or greater than the minimum fare from your starting station, your card will be validated and you can then travel on it. Depending on how far you travel, this may leave you with a negative balance on touching out, and you'll need to top up before travelling again.
 

ian13

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However, if your credit is equal to or greater than the minimum fare from your starting station, your card will be validated and you can then travel on it. Depending on how far you travel, this may leave you with a negative balance on touching out, and you'll need to top up before travelling again.

I recently heard that if you travel on a validated oyster card with funds insufficient for the journey made, this could be treated as travelling without a ticket? I've used the touch-in-to-find-out approach myself (to avoid the queues, and travelling only in-zone anyway) - but if the funds issue is true, it adds rather more responsibility on ensuring you have sufficient funds.
 
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CNash

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As far as I know, validated is validated - though I've sometimes been asked where I'm travelling to when I've been inspected on the train. It deducts the maximum fare from your card when you touch in, then refunds the difference (if any) when you touch out, so as far as the system's concerned you've paid for the journey no matter what.
 

ian13

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As far as I know, validated is validated - though I've sometimes been asked where I'm travelling to when I've been inspected on the train. It deducts the maximum fare from your card when you touch in, then refunds the difference (if any) when you touch out, so as far as the system's concerned you've paid for the journey no matter what.

Thanks!

To the OP: You/your friend should reply confirming your details (although not National Insurance - given that should only ever be given to HMRC or an employer). It's up to you if you make a statement - however any statement you make should be truthful, but take care not to inadvertently further incriminate yourselves.

I'd be very surprised if a prosecution wasn't made, and it's quite possible they have sufficient evidence already for a successful s5 conviction (which carries a criminal record and is likely to incur a fine (ca. £200-300+) and costs (ca. £130)). s5 requires proving you had intent to avoid payment - not touching in, avoiding an inspector (cctv may confirm this), and lieing about reasons for not touching in are all likely to work against you.

The laws exist to ensure that persons who seek to avoid payment of fares are punished - I'm afraid that the version of events you recalled do suggest that you breached these laws. The penalty fare should have served as a warning as to the importance of paying for journeys. I think the fact this post is titled 'caught' shows you're aware of this.
 
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MikeWh

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As far as I know, validated is validated - though I've sometimes been asked where I'm travelling to when I've been inspected on the train. It deducts the maximum fare from your card when you touch in, then refunds the difference (if any) when you touch out, so as far as the system's concerned you've paid for the journey no matter what.

You are supposed to have enough money for the journey you intend to take. Unless you use the very old gates at some Underground stations, the display will tell you how much is on there before the initial deduction. If that isn't enough then you can exit again straight away (within 2 minutes), top up at a machine then re-enter (within 45 minutes) and you will not be charged any extra. If the station has validators rather than gates then you can just go to the machine anyway, so the above process doesn't happen at validators. If you didn't have enough money for your journey when you come to exit, you will get out but you'll then have to top up before you can use the card again. However, there is one scenario where that won't happen; if you've exceeded the maximum journey time from your start station the action of touching out will register a second incomplete journey charge. If your card was already negative because of the initial incomplete journey charge then the gates won't open. I would earnestly recommend auto top up to anyone using PAYG on Oyster because the chances of ending up with a negative balance are almost nil. It tops up at the start of any journey where the balance is less than £8.00. When it tops up you get an email confirming the transaction which can prompt you to check your journey history for any errors.
 

SussexMan

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however any statement you make should be truthful, but take care not to inadvertently further incriminate yourselves.

Presumably that therefore means - don't make any statement! Assuming that the fare evasion was deliberate, then a truthful statement will incriminate themselves.
 

island

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And banks I imagine, for taxation of income on savings accounts

Actually not (at the risk of going off-topic). Only for (untaxable) ISAs. Regular savings accounts just have 20% tax deducted in general, and higher rate tax payers must settle the difference with HMRC.
 

ian13

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Presumably that therefore means - don't make any statement! Assuming that the fare evasion was deliberate, then a truthful statement will incriminate themselves.

Potentially. It's always worth being aware that any statement can be used against you in court, and could potentially compromise any defence.
 

dvboy

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That's not true, it's required for a lot of things - like CRB checks.

...the form for which you fill out for your Employer.

An NI number is, however, like your passport number, an identifying record that can be held and searched for on police databases.
 
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