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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 15:24 GMT
Emergency stop scam hits buffers
ScotRail train
Nine trains were stopped by Tomlinson
A buffet trolley worker who clocked up extra overtime by bringing trains to an emergency stop cost a rail company almost 30,000, a court heard.

Richard Tomlinson halted nine ScotRail services in less than a month.

But his scam hit the buffers when the company investigated the spate of emergency stops.

He was aware it was possible he could benefit financially by acquiring overtime by delaying the trains

Stuart Maciver
Depute fiscal
The 26-year-old, of Carnarc Crescent, Inverness, admitted maliciously activating the emergency button on nine trains when he appeared at the city's sheriff court.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service after a sheriff accepted that Tomlinson was of low intelligence.

The court heard that he had been employed since July 2000 by a private company which provided ScotRail with on-board catering services.

Tomlinson was pushing a tea trolley on the Edinburgh to Inverness service on 26 September 2001 when he first brought a train to a halt.

He pushed the emergency button, causing a lengthy delay and putting the train out of commission for extensive checks.

Secure area

Over the coming month he stopped eight more trains, mostly on services heading south from Inverness.

Depute fiscal Stuart Maciver said: "On these occasions the driver had some reason to leave his cabin and attend to other duties.

"Tomlinson had managed to obtain a key which enabled him to gain access to the secure area of the cabin and activate the emergency stop button located there."

Richard Tomlinson
Richard Tomlinson: Pushed emergency button
Mr Maciver said this resulted in delays and inconvenience to passengers, many of whom claimed compensation from ScotRail.

On each occasion the rail company had to take the train out of service and carry out a series of fault checks.

In all, ScotRail incurred losses and costs amounting to 29,813.74.

Mr Maciver said the offence came to light because of the high number of emergency halts where trains were found not to have any faults.

"It became apparent the accused was present on all of these journeys and suspicion fell upon him.

'Quite bizarre'

"He was interviewed by the police and as an explanation he mentioned initially that it was out of boredom and was 'something to do' and 'a laugh'.

"He was aware it was possible he could benefit financially by acquiring overtime by delaying the trains," said the depute fiscal.

Defence lawyer Craig Wood admitted that the case was "quite bizarre".

I am staggered at the cost and you are in no way able to pay that back

Sheriff Donald Booker-Milburn
He said Tomlinson had educational difficulties which made him impressionable and impulsive, and was on the borderline of low intelligence.

Sheriff Donald Booker-Milburn told Tomlinson: "You may have a limited understanding of the implications the first time you did this, but I think you are quite able to understand you have done, indeed, very wrong.

"As a result of what you have done certain losses and other expenses were cause to the railways amounting to 30,000.

"I am staggered at the cost and you are in no way able to pay that back."

See also:

05 Mar 01 | Scotland
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