The great ticket robbery

In brief

The Tories and their friends were left with egg on their faces this week. Sunday should have been their day of triumph, when for the first time in 50 years private passenger trains were due to leave the station.

LTS’s takeover of the London, Tilbury and Southend line was dramatically halted at the last minute, as allegations about systematic ticket fraud came to light. In the end, only South Western Trains and Great Western Trains got moving.

It appears that London Transport has been defrauded of up to £45,000 in revenue over the past six weeks.

Sir George Young, the Transport Secretary, insisted that Sunday was “a momentous day for the railways”. Michael Heseltine was even bolder, telling the Breakfast With Frost show that the LTS fiasco was “a triumph for the system”.

Yes, a triumph for the crooks and fraudsters who can parade their corruption so brazenly - yet condemn so-called ‘benefit cheats’ for claiming an extra £5 per week, so they can (barely) afford to eat.

Eddie Ford