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Train-spotter let BR take the financial strain

A train-spotter, resorted to crime in an attempt to travel the entire rail network, a court was told yesterday.

Avon County Council treasurer Tim Wallis,37, covered 99 per cent of the country - a total of 22,770 miles. He also wanted to travel in trains pulled by every British Rail locomotive and had been on 560. But the accountant turned to deception to finance his journeys.

Wallis filed a series of false claims to BR for compensation for late trains and "abysmal" service. He used the refunded cash to make fresh trips and then made copycat complaints, Bristol Crown Court was told.

Wallis, of Stoke Gifford, near Bristol, was fined £500, ordered to pay £525 costs and £32 compensation to BR after he admitted one charge of forgery, four of deception and asked for 24 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Patrick Burrowes, for the prosecution, said Wallis claimed he was a student to obtain a rail card which gave him travel discounts. Once he wrote to BR complaining about late trains which he claimed had cost him three hours while attending a Birmingham seminar.

But his own meticulous records of rail journeys gave him away, showing he was not in Birmingham, but on trains in the Weymouth and Newport areas.