Fare dodgers!

PUBLISHED: 11:02 19 April 2007 | UPDATED: 15:05 12 May 2010

Clearing up operations at Ashwell station after the raid – Pic: Daniel Wilson 2328DW32

Clearing up operations at Ashwell station after the raid - Pic: Daniel Wilson 2328DW32

THIEVES stole a ticket machine from a railway station platform - leaving a £30,000 trail of damage in their wake. The machine was ripped out at Ashwell & Morden Station on Tuesday night, when the gang, believed to number five or six, wrapped a metal chai

THIEVES stole a ticket machine from a railway station platform - leaving a £30,000 trail of damage in their wake.

The machine was ripped out at Ashwell & Morden Station on Tuesday night, when the gang, believed to number five or six, wrapped a metal chain around the unit, and fastened the other end to a truck.

The machine was then torn from its bolts and dragged across the platform and up an embankment, demolishing a wall, railings, and a fence in the process.

The thieves then drove off in the direction of Ashwell.

However, despite their efforts, they got away with little cash, as the ticket machine had only been emptied the day before.

Robert Beahan of First Capital Connect said: "We estimate the cost of the damage to be about £30,000.

"Thankfully, the ticket machine had been emptied so there would not have been much money in it.

"It has been an inconvenience and we will replace the machine as soon as we can."

Commuter Peter Stojic of Guilden Morden said: "I was there when the station opened at 6.30am, and all the commuters were shocked at the extent of the damage.

"There was a lot of mess, but staff quickly made the area safe.

"However, I almost missed my train, because the queue at the ticket office was pretty long.

"The criminals have certainly been stupid. Most people use credit cards rather than cash, so they can't have got away with much!"

A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said that they had contacted both Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire police in case other stations were being targeted.

- In the meantime, customers are being encouraged to buy tickets from the station's ticket office which is open on weekday mornings.

At other times rail travellers can obtain tickets either on board the train or at their destination station.

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