Investigators looking to identify train ticket machine vandals

AN investigation into an attack on the ticket vending machine at Audley End has been launched by British Transport Police (BTP) detectives.

Investigators are searching for a group of men after machines were attacked across Essex, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Hampshire and Hertfordshire, causing over £50,000 of damage.Detective constable Nick Thompson, of BTP’s Area Crime Team, said: “The group of men targeted rail stations in the early hours, with one of them breaking into the machine while others acted as lookouts.”

• The first incident took place at Micheldever station, Hampshire, on Monday, 15 October around 3am. The TVM was attacked, causing over £17,500 worth of damage.

• The next day, the gang broke into Diss station, Norfolk, on Tuesday, 16 October and caused damage costing nearly £18,500.

• Later that month, on Friday, 26 October, Arlesey station’s TVM was targeted, causing nearly £900 of damages and the machine remaining out of order for the majority of the next day.

• In the early hours of Friday, 2 November, a TVM was vandalised at Welwyn North station, Hertfordshire, causing an estimated £590 of damage.

• Audley End station, in Essex, was targeted on Saturday, 15 December, when a TVM was vandalised costing over £6,000 of repairs.

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• The gang returned to Hampshire on Monday, 17 December, attacking a TVM at Hook station and left behind £9,500 worth of damage.

DC Thompson added: “We believe this gang is responsible for all six attacks, which have caused an astonishing £50,000 of damage to train operating companies’ property.

“Not only was the damage left by these vandals extremely costly to the railway, their actions made machines unusable, causing passengers immense inconvenience and frustration.

“I’d urge anyone who recognises the men, or who has any information about the incidents, to contact us as soon as possible.”

Anyone who information is asked to contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40 quoting background reference B9/LNA of 09/01/2013. Information can also given to the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.