Northern: Rail operator warns fare dodgers will be prosecuted for historic offences in train ticket crackdown

Northern operate the Meadowhall station in Sheffield and have a number of services in and out of Sheffield Station.

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Fare dodgers with a "proven pattern of behaviour" should expect to be prosecuted for historic fare evasion offences, the rail operator Northern has said.

The company, which operates more than 500 stations across the North of England, has warned persistent offenders that, once identified, they will be charged with historic cases of fare evasion as well as the journey they were caught on.

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Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: "Fare evasion hasn’t been as simple as people just not buying a ticket for quite some time.

"There are people who try to outsmart the system through a complex process of fraudulent refund requests, delay repay claims and a process known as ‘short faring’. What those people might not realise is that, as with any electronic transaction, our systems are able to identify suspicious activity and bring it to the attention of our specialist investigators."

Where there is a "proven pattern of behaviour", Northern's Debt Recovery & Prosecutions Unit (DRPU) will build a case for the courts outlining the full scale of a perpetrators deception.

In the 2022-23 financial year, Northern's prosecutors attended 301 court sittings, securing 14,072 convictions and recouping £2,851,883 of lost revenue for the taxpayer.

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Northern operates 2,500 services a day, including some going in and out of Sheffield Station, as well as running the station at Meadowhall. 70 per cent of tickets for their services are now bought via online platforms.

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