A Highland man who fraudulently claimed thousands of pounds from rail companies has received a suspended sentence following a British Transport Police investigation.
Peter Todd, 36, of Seaforth Gardens, Halkirk, Caithness, was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, at Leeds Crown Court on after he pleaded guilty to 11 offences of fraud by false representation.
The court heard how Todd acquired almost £14,000 from rail companies – £5,000 from fraudulent delay repay compensation claims and £8,900 from credit card chargebacks.
Over a period of four years, Todd supplied scanned copies of the same ticket to several train companies claiming compensation for delayed trains.
He also fraudulently used his credit card, which had already exceeded its limit, to purchase tickets on board trains. When this fee could not be paid the train company was held accountable.
On searching Todd’s home detectives found train tickets, letters of complaint to rail companies and documentation relating to his credit card.
A number of train operating companies – Virgin West Coast, Scotrail, Northern, Transpennine Express, Virgin Trains East Coast, Arriva Trains Wales, Great Western Railway, Caledonian Sleepers, Cross Country, Hull Trains and London Midland – received a total of 271 claims for delay repay compensation from Todd, under 30 different claimant names.
In one case, one ticket was used to make 15 compensation claims all from the same address using eight different names.
Todd narrowly avoided a lengthy custodial sentence by agreeing to access mental health treatment.
British Transport Police financial investigator Gary Francis said: “Todd was making some of his money by exploiting the Train Operating Companies’ (TOCs) Delay Repay compensation scheme that was put in place to compensate honest fare-paying members of the travelling public who have genuinely been inconvenienced by delayed trains.”
Investigating officer Detective Constable Niall Chambers said: “Ticket fraud is not a victimless crime – the loss is passed down to paying customers. It is not right that some people should enjoy cash payouts at the expense of others, by stealing from legitimate companies, causing losses to their revenue and as a result impacting on the costs of rail fares for honest, paying passengers.
“This sentence should send a strong message to fraudsters. We will not tolerate any kind of fraud on the transport network and we will make every effort to bring those that do commit the crime to justice.”