Doncaster train ticket fraudster ordered to pay back £17k

Doncaster Railway Station. Picture: Holly Allen
Doncaster Railway Station. Picture: Holly Allen

A Doncaster train ticket fraudster must pay back £17,000 over the next six months, or face a year long prison sentence.

Mark Mason, 44, who travelled throughout the UK using forged First Class rail and parking tickets over a period of 21 months, has been convicted of fraud charges relating to 85 tickets, valued at £17,000.

And at a proceeds of crime hearing this week - Mason, a contract worker, was ordered to pay £17,884 over the next six months.

Failure to pay will result in a default sentence of 12 months in prison.

Detective Constable David Williams, Financial Investigator, said of the case: “This sentence sends a clear message to anyone thinking of trying to evade payment of train fares and/or parking that it really isn’t worth it. Mason, of West Lea Thorne Road, Hatfield, was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 240 hours unpaid work and a 12-day restorative justice course ar Sheffield Crown Court in September.

The British Transport Police (BTP) investigation began in autumn 2013 when East Coast Trains station support staff saw Mason’s black Vauxhall Meriva car on several occasions in the Executive Car Park at Doncaster station.

Various ticket discrepancies were noted including an expired ticket and tickets with wrong colours, no date and time printed, incorrect emblems and incorrect value paid.

BTP was informed and, on 20 December, an officer spotted the car and approached its owner, Mason, when he returned to his vehicle later that day. Mason was arrested on suspicion of fraud offences and a search of the car revealed 10 further tickets believed to be forged.

A subsequent search of the defendant’s home led to the discovery of forged travel and parking tickets, genuine tickets, glossy photographic paper, computers and printers, craft knives, scissors and a cutting board.

Forensic examination of the computer devices revealed that Mason had used the computers to produce forged travel and parking tickets.

The offences were committed between March 24, 2011 and December 19, 2013.