Northampton fraudster scammed London commuters by cancelling Oyster cards and pocketing refunds

A Northampton man who scammed commuters in London by cancelling their Oyster cards and forwarding the balance to himself has been offered "a final chance" by a judge.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 6:54 pm
James Service exploited Oyster card's cancellation policy to scame thousands of pounds. Photo credit Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
James Service exploited Oyster card's cancellation policy to scame thousands of pounds. Photo credit Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

James Service had access to thousands of customers' personal details while working as a customer service advisor at Novacroft, in Northampton.

But Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (September 4) how, in the space of just two months, the 20-year-old used this data to defraud three victims and pocket over £3,000 for himself.

The court heard how Service used customer's details to exploit the cancellation policy of the London Oyster card scheme.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

At court, the judge gave Service an ultimatum - go to prison for turn his life around.

When a customer cancels one of the travel cards, they can order the remaining balance of the card to be refunded to a chosen bank account.

With his insider knowledge, Service called and cancelled three cards and had the refunded balance sent to the bank accounts of three associates - before later taking the money for himself.

However, all three customers later alerted Oyster card that their accounts had been cancelled and Service was soon found out.

The court heard how the total stolen refunds amounted to £3,357.

It comes after the 20-year-old was handed two suspended sentences last year for assault by ABH and breach of a public order.

It meant Service was looking at a 10-month prison sentence.

But on reflection, Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking instead offered Service an ultimatum.

She told the 20-year-old: "If you tell me now that I would just be setting you up to fail by making you comply with a court order, then I will send you to prison for 10 months today.

"Alternatively, I can defer sentence for three months. And if you come back to me with a glowing report by the probation service showing that you've got a job and have attended every single appointment they make with you - then I might consider not activating this sentence.

"I'm not impressed by your record... I'm giving you this opportunity as you're still a young man.

"Now do you agree with what I'm saying?"

"Yes, your honour," said Service.

Service was ordered to return to court in December for sentencing.