Fraudsters who falsely claimed compensation from London Midlands over delayed trains have been dealt with by magistrates in Northampton.
Ben Akhigbe of Wootton, Northampton, and Colin Bretherton, of Towcester, were the first to be prosecuted by the train company for this type of fare fiddling.
A spokesman for London Midlands said: “Both had been using information available on the internet to make false delay repay claims. Passengers are entitled to claim compensation, from London Midland, if their train is delayed by 30 minutes or more.
“However train operators are seeing an increasing number of people making multiple claims on days when there is disruption.
“London Midland has now trained its customer relations staff to spot unusual patterns in claims including so-called ‘impossible journeys’ where a passenger claims to be on more than one train at a time. These claims are then passed on to a specialist unit for further investigation,” he said.
The spokesman added: “London Midland was awarded compensation of £2,200 and £1,600 in costs. The defendants received conditional discharges in excess of 18 months. The defendants were contacted three times each by London Midland to explain their claims in advance of court proceedings.”
London Midland commercial director, Richard Brooks, said: “We encourage genuine passengers to make delay repay claims when trains run late – regardless of the cause. What we won’t tolerate is fraudulent claims. Not only is this theft it also means that real passengers have to wait longer for their money.”
Akhigbe had claimed for 101 journeys and had been paid £1,339 in compensation over an 18 month period between February 2014 and October 2015.
Bretherton had claimed for 119 journeys and had been paid £970 in compensation over an 18 month period between January 2014 and September 2015.