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How likely is a court hearing for fare evasion?

I was stopped for having a short ticket from St Pancras to Farringdon (£3.50) instead of Stevenage to farridngon (£20). I did this as they have been extremely relaxed with ticket checking and never scan tickets, as long as you have a valid ticket you can get through the barriers.

However, one inspector went to scan one day and knew I hadn’t scanned in at St Pancras. He said they will find out everything, and I didn’t want to say this was my only time doing it in case they found out and I got in deeper trouble. So I said 2/3 times I’ve used this short ticket, but I did show them examples of a full trip I have done too.

I have received a letter in the post claiming they have an intention to take me to court and want me to reply with my version of events. Having searched this, I can see this letter is fairly common for fare evasion, and I am really hoping it’s just a fine and out of court settlement.

Does anyone have any experience in this, or know how many cases actually end up in court?

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They won’t take you to court as it isn’t worth the time. They will however send you a penalty notice to your registered address telling you to pay x amount in fare and it will likely be cut in half in paid within 28 days.

In short, a fine. If you continue to ignore the fine, they will then escalate the fee and if you ignore that, that’s when debt collectors will come into it.

Had this happen to me once because of Brighton Council (I was a student at the time) demanding council tax and them chasing me for 2 years when I didn’t even know as they kept sending letters addressed to myself over to my old student accommodation.
(edited 2 years ago)
Only reason I found out was because I received an email from a debt collectors agency (it was real) for Brighton Council more specifically a “notice of enforcement”. They (the council) didn’t send me any emails regarding the unpaid council tax because “it wasn’t a legal requirement” despite them having my email address… 🤦*♂️
(edited 2 years ago)
Before anyone asks or wonders. I phoned the council, explained the situation and conveniently they then said it was a mistake as their policy changed shortly after I left uni. Meaning they threw it out the day I enquired about the bill and they called off the debt collectors.
Reply 4
My only concern is that I said I’ve done it 2/3 times, in reality it’s likely to be slightly more (5/6 perhaps). I don’t know whether they have time or resource to investigate that. Or whether I was better off saying it’s my only time.

It is the first time I’ve been caught and taken details, and is 2/3 times a lot in the scheme of things?
Original post by Cam Smith
I was stopped for having a short ticket from St Pancras to Farringdon (£3.50) instead of Stevenage to farridngon (£20). I did this as they have been extremely relaxed with ticket checking and never scan tickets, as long as you have a valid ticket you can get through the barriers.

However, one inspector went to scan one day and knew I hadn’t scanned in at St Pancras. He said they will find out everything, and I didn’t want to say this was my only time doing it in case they found out and I got in deeper trouble. So I said 2/3 times I’ve used this short ticket, but I did show them examples of a full trip I have done too.

I have received a letter in the post claiming they have an intention to take me to court and want me to reply with my version of events. Having searched this, I can see this letter is fairly common for fare evasion, and I am really hoping it’s just a fine and out of court settlement.

Does anyone have any experience in this, or know how many cases actually end up in court?


you will be facing 20 years to life, good luck my brother
Original post by Cam Smith
My only concern is that I said I’ve done it 2/3 times, in reality it’s likely to be slightly more (5/6 perhaps). I don’t know whether they have time or resource to investigate that. Or whether I was better off saying it’s my only time.

It is the first time I’ve been caught and taken details, and is 2/3 times a lot in the scheme of things?


They’ll only send you a fine for things they have CONCRETE proof on they can stick on you. Anything else they can’t, so don’t worry about it.
Original post by Cam Smith
My only concern is that I said I’ve done it 2/3 times, in reality it’s likely to be slightly more (5/6 perhaps). I don’t know whether they have time or resource to investigate that. Or whether I was better off saying it’s my only time.

It is the first time I’ve been caught and taken details, and is 2/3 times a lot in the scheme of things?

They'll only know what they have on record for you regarding warnings etc. They're not going to look at your payment/purchase history.

If this is the first official warning then it's unlikely they'll pursue you for evasion, as above, more likely you'll just get a penalty fine.

But for god's sake just buy the correct ticket going forward.
Just curious, are you going to get the correct tickets from now on?
Reply 9
Original post by nousernameplease
Just curious, are you going to get the correct tickets from now on?

I have been ever since (08/04/22)

Got away with it plenty of times just showing them I have a ticket (short one) and they let you through. Been going into work every week for 5 months and that’s the only time they’ve clamped down
Reply 10
Original post by Admit-One
They'll only know what they have on record for you regarding warnings etc. They're not going to look at your payment/purchase history.

If this is the first official warning then it's unlikely they'll pursue you for evasion, as above, more likely you'll just get a penalty fine.

But for god's sake just buy the correct ticket going forward.

Perhaps a mistake telling them I’ve done it 2/3 times. The man was very intimidating, kept cutting me off, said stop lying ti things I was truthful about.

So I didn’t want to say 1 time in case that got me in more trouble if they can find out tickets bought, most likely just a ploy on their part. Best I can hope for is a fine, at this stage I’m not too bothered how much
Original post by Cam Smith
Perhaps a mistake telling them I’ve done it 2/3 times. The man was very intimidating, kept cutting me off, said stop lying ti things I was truthful about.

Well, to be fair, you were lying to him about some of your answers. So he was right to be challenging you.
Original post by Cam Smith
I have been ever since (08/04/22)

Got away with it plenty of times just showing them I have a ticket (short one) and they let you through. Been going into work every week for 5 months and that’s the only time they’ve clamped down


Do love some character development😂
Original post by Scienceisgood
They won’t take you to court as it isn’t worth the time. They will however send you a penalty notice to your registered address telling you to pay x amount in fare and it will likely be cut in half in paid within 28 days.

In short, a fine. If you continue to ignore the fine, they will then escalate the fee and if you ignore that, that’s when debt collectors will come into it.

Had this happen to me once because of Brighton Council (I was a student at the time) demanding council tax and them chasing me for 2 years when I didn’t even know as they kept sending letters addressed to myself over to my old student accommodation.

Council tax and debt collectors is a civil issue. This is rather different to a potential criminal conviction for fare dodging on the railway.
Original post by Cam Smith
I was stopped for having a short ticket from St Pancras to Farringdon (£3.50) instead of Stevenage to farridngon (£20). I did this as they have been extremely relaxed with ticket checking and never scan tickets, as long as you have a valid ticket you can get through the barriers.

However, one inspector went to scan one day and knew I hadn’t scanned in at St Pancras. He said they will find out everything, and I didn’t want to say this was my only time doing it in case they found out and I got in deeper trouble. So I said 2/3 times I’ve used this short ticket, but I did show them examples of a full trip I have done too.

I have received a letter in the post claiming they have an intention to take me to court and want me to reply with my version of events. Having searched this, I can see this letter is fairly common for fare evasion, and I am really hoping it’s just a fine and out of court settlement.

Does anyone have any experience in this, or know how many cases actually end up in court?

Your problem here is that you bought a ticket and it was clearly for a shorter journey than you made. So it's clear that this wasn't some kind of misunderstanding on your part. And you've admitted it to the ticket inspector. And you've admitted to the ticket inspector that this wasn't a one-off occurrence and you've done this before.

A prosecutions department might give you the benefit of the doubt if it was a one-off case; but when you've clearly tried to play the system (you deliberately bought a ticket that wouldn't cover the distance you travelled plus you've admitted you've done this more than once) they might well be inclined towards prosecution.

You might want to consider how a criminal conviction for a crime involving dishonesty will look in the future.

The railway company (which one was it, by the way?) might make you an offer for this to be dealt with out of court. But they might not. You might perhaps want to get legal advice on the best way to proceed.

As you've been caught once, and they have you on their records, a future offence might well be an automatic prosecution.
Reply 15
Original post by martin7
Your problem here is that you bought a ticket and it was clearly for a shorter journey than you made. So it's clear that this wasn't some kind of misunderstanding on your part. And you've admitted it to the ticket inspector. And you've admitted to the ticket inspector that this wasn't a one-off occurrence and you've done this before.

A prosecutions department might give you the benefit of the doubt if it was a one-off case; but when you've clearly tried to play the system (you deliberately bought a ticket that wouldn't cover the distance you travelled plus you've admitted you've done this more than once) they might well be inclined towards prosecution.

You might want to consider how a criminal conviction for a crime involving dishonesty will look in the future.

The railway company (which one was it, by the way?) might make you an offer for this to be dealt with out of court. But they might not. You might perhaps want to get legal advice on the best way to proceed.

As you've been caught once, and they have you on their records, a future offence might well be an automatic prosecution.

Thanks for the advice, it was a Thameslink service. I can only assume it’s a clamp down day, as every other day after has been the normal, quick glance let you through service at Farringdon.

The letter only asks about the 08/04, no reference to previous occasions. It asks you were stopped for not having a valid ticket, what is your version of events?
Just write about this specific incident. Don't volunteer anything that it isn't very specifically being asked about.
Reply 17
What would I say in relation to this? I am cautious of telling the intent was to fare evade as that would be admitting to a criminal offence
Original post by Cam Smith
What would I say in relation to this? I am cautious of telling the intent was to fare evade as that would be admitting to a criminal offence

Depends on the exact wording of the questions. It's going to be difficult to not admit it as you were carrying the incorrect ticket and whoever stopped you is aware of that and will have written it in their report.

I would suggest that you need to provide a plausible explanation as to why you purchased the wrong ticket.
Original post by Cam Smith
What would I say in relation to this? I am cautious of telling the intent was to fare evade as that would be admitting to a criminal offence


Original post by Admit-One
Depends on the exact wording of the questions. It's going to be difficult to not admit it as you were carrying the incorrect ticket and whoever stopped you is aware of that and will have written it in their report.

I would suggest that you need to provide a plausible explanation as to why you purchased the wrong ticket.


Best explanation I could possibly give is you fell asleep on the train and so stayed on longer than you anticipated. Don't know how believable it is but it could work given you may have been asleep for an additional 15-20 mins just dozing off and if you were caught on the platform, just say you were trying to get back to your original stop?
(edited 2 years ago)

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