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Former Southeastern staff jailed after swindling train firm out of more then £185,000 in ticket scam

PUBLISHED: 12:32 02 April 2015 | UPDATED: 14:04 02 April 2015

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Men all worked in station booking offices

Five former Southeastern staff have been sentenced to imprisonment for fraud following a investigation by British Transport Police.

John Benge, 61, Roberts Road, Belvedere, Kent, Nigel Moss, 56, of Poppy Close, Gillingham, Kent, Douglas O’Dwyer, 39, of Thamesbank Place, Thamesmead, Michael Fleming, 43, of Donaldson Road, Woolwich, and Avtar Bains, 39, of Tyron Road, East Ham, appeared before Blackfriars Crown Court on March 30, charged with fraud by abuse of position.

The group were involved in high value fraud centred around station booking offices operated by Southeastern. The activity took place at Greenwich and Woolwich Arsenal railway stations.

The men worked in ticket offices at the stations and took part in misusing ticketing machines used to credit oyster cards, defrauding the railway of more than £185,000 since 2011.

BTP officers launched an investigation in 2012, working closely with Southeastern and Transport for London.

Detective inspector Ashley Cooper, for the British Transport Police, said: “The sentence handed down by the judge shows that British Transport Police do not tolerate any type of fraud, no matter the amount, no matter who is responsible.

“These men took advantage of their position to steal money and tickets from the train company and customers. I hope the sentence will deter anyone who tries to commit fraud, and serve as a warning that BTP will do everything in its power to identify and prosecute those responsible.”

A Southeastern spokesman said: “Successful prosecution of any crime relating to our network is essential because fraud costs money that would otherwise go towards running and improving our service.

“This type of incident is very rare and we have processes in place to detect fraud. We’ve worked very closely with BTP and Transport for London on this case and we are pleased this matter is now closed.”

The men were each charged with fraud by abuse of position. All pleaded guilty.

Douglas O’Dwyer was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment, and Michael Fleming to one year’s imprisonment. John Benge was handed a sentence of 10 months imprisonment and Nigel Moss and Avtar Bains were handed suspended sentences of six and eight months respectively plus costs.

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