Rail buffet worker 'sabotaged trains in cash scam'

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The Independent Online

A train buffet worker has been questioned by police investigating a series of disruptions to ScotRail services linked to a suspected money-making scam.

The 25-year-old man, from Inverness, is alleged to have deliberately caused trains to break down and then charged passengers for snacks and drinks that should have been given out free once the delay had exceeded an hour.

The man was on board nine trains affected between 26 September and 24 October this year between Inverness and Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Elgin. In one case, 200 passengers on an Inverness-to-Edinburgh service were stranded for seven hours in the Highlands and had to be ferried by taxis and buses to their destinations. In the other eight breakdowns allegedly linked to the man, trains were restarted after about an hour.

The breakdowns puzzled engineers who could find no explanation for them after running through the standard list of checks. ScotRail called in British Transport Police after noticing that the same man worked on all affected trains.

A ScotRail spokesman said: "The reason these nine services were brought to our attention was that there was nothing mechanically wrong with them ... The only common denominator was that this chap was working on the trains."

The motive appeared to be financial. "If you are on a service delayed by more than an hour you get free drinks," the spokesman said.

"The speculation at this stage is that he was giving them out to customers and pocketing the cash."

Police believe the man may have interfered with controls in the unused driver's cab at the rear of the train to cause the engine to fail.