NORTHERN has issued a warning to persistent fare-dodgers on its trains after recouping millions in lost revenue in the last financial year.

The rail operator, based in York, said investigations into 108,681 reports of attempted fare evasion in the 2022-23 financial year led to 301 court sittings, secured 14,072 convictions and receipts of £2,851,883.

Where there is a ‘proven pattern of behaviour’, Northern said its Debt Recovery and Prosecutions Unit (DPRU) will build a case for the courts that outlines the full scale of the perpetrator’s deception over many years.

The operator said with 70 per cent of Northern services now bought via online means, its Digital Fraud Investigations Team within the DPRU can scrutinise the circumstances of suspected fare evasion incidents in much more detail.

Northern said once identified, persistent fare-evaders should expect to be prosecuted for historic cases of fare evasion as well as the journey for which they were caught.


Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: “Fare evasion hasn’t been as simple as people just no buying a ticket for some time.

“There are those 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.”

Northern said it created a Digital Fraud Investigations Team in 2021 in response to the surge in digital ticketing after the pandemic.