Executive pays back more than £40,000 in dodged rail fares on Battle line

A CITY executive from the Battle area has paid back £42,550 in dodged rail fares after exploiting a loophole in the system.

The hedge fund manager, who has not been named, is believed to have carried out the scam over a period of five years before finally being caught by an inspector.

He had an Oyster Travelcard and travelled to and from London.

He regularly commuted from Stonegate to London Bridge, where he caught another train to Cannon Street.

His Oyster was only used at Cannon Street so he paid a maximum £7.20 fare.

The normal fare for the journey is £24.50 each way.

The rural station at Stonegate has no ticket barriers, so the man was able to avoid “tapping in” with his Oyster card, and only “tapped out” through the barriers once he reached Cannon Street.

He also managed to avoid ticket inspectors on the train, Southeastern said.

The then maximum fare of £7.20 was incurred when a passenger “tapped out” through a barrier without having “tapped in”, a Southeastern spokesman said.

The executive was eventually caught in November last year by a ticket inspector who was standing next to the barriers.

He paid back the £42,550 in dodged fares, plus £450 in legal costs, within three days as part of an out-of-court settlement.

Southeastern said it believed he had been dodging the fare for five years as his last annual season ticket from Stonegate expired in 2008 and within five days of being challenged he renewed his lapsed ticket.

The spokesman for the rail company said: “We recognise that this issue is important to customers who pay their way and expect the system to treat them with fairness by acting against people who don’t buy tickets.”

Southeastern said all passengers have the option to avoid prosecution and settle out of court.

Southeastern said the executive wanted to protect his identity as he was concerned of the impact on his job.

If he had have been prosecuted it would have resulted in a criminal record.

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said: “It is not only extraordinary that the biggest fare dodger in railway history got away with it for so long, but has also now escaped criminal prosecution as well.”