Fare dodgers were ordered to pay almost £400,000 after Greater Anglia prosecuted people caught riding trains without tickets.

More than 1,300 people were prosecuted between December 2019 and the end of January.

Magistrates imposed fines of more than £150,000 and costs of more than £235,000 on people who were accused of fare evasion across the network.

Cases were heard at courts across the East of England and London.

Courts in Essex ordered fare dodgers to pay out £289,061 in the two month period.

Only people who board a train without a ticket and without any intention of buying a ticket are taken to court – about 500 to 700 people a month.

A further 4,000 to 6,000 people end up with penalty fares for using the wrong ticket to travel, such as an adult travelling on a child’s ticket or using a rail card discount when they don’t have a railcard.

Kim Bucknell, Greater Anglia’s Head of Customer Service, said: “We will take action against people who travel without the correct ticket and will always prosecute people who have boarded our trains with no intention of paying for a ticket.

“It’s easy to buy a ticket either from a ticket office, ticket machine, online or via our app, so there is no excuse for travelling without a ticket – and it just ends up pushing up prices for our fare-paying customers.

“For every £1 spent on rail fares, 98p is invested in the railway. By not paying for a ticket, there’s less money available for investment to improve the railway for everyone."

Greater Anglia’s revenue protection teams use their discretion when inspecting tickets.

They are informed if ticket machines are out of order or ticket offices closed, so when these are used as reasons, they know if they are genuine.

As well as uniformed Revenue Protection Inspectors, Greater Anglia also employs plain clothes Fraud Investigations Officers who use the latest technology and systems to detect fraudulent activity, specialising in travel fraud, such as delay repay fraud rings.