A TRAIN operator’s former customer relations manager has appeared in court charged with fraud by abuse of position.
It is alleged Trevor Watt exchanged complimentary tickets, known as X passes, with friends and family for cash, favours and hotel stays while working for East Coast Main Line.
The court heard the alleged fraud took place between November 2008 and December 2009 while the 51-year-old worked at Newcastle Central Station.
It is estimated the alleged ticket scam was worth in excess of £30,000.
Watt, of Hall Park, Blaydon, entered no plea at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The bench declined jurisdiction of the case and the former customer relations and service quality manager will face crown court over the allegations. Justin Gibson, prosecuting, said: “The position Mr Watt held within East Coast really involved a high degree of trust.
“Bearing in mind the high degree of trust and the period of time over which the offence is said to have taken place, the Crown would say the case is not suitable for this court.”
British Transport Police launched a major investigation into the alleged ticket scam.
A 57-year-old woman from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, and two men, a 44-year-old from Washington, and a 54-year-old from Hebburn, South Tyneside, were all questioned by officers but none faced any charges.
X passes, which were issued by staff who formerly worked at the operator’s Baron House, could be written out by hand by East Coast staff and used for first class or standard travel.
One pass could be made out to a party of up to 10 people and used on journeys on the East Coast Main Line, which connects Scotland and the North East to London.
East Coast has confirmed Watt is no longer employed with the operator.
Watt was granted unconditional bail until he appears back at the court on Thursday, March 7 when the case will be committed to Newcastle Crown Court.
The position Mr Watt held within East Coast really involved a high degree of trust