SCOTRAIL has announced a crackdown on people who intentionally attempt to avoid paying the correct fare for their journey.

The train operator will hire 42 revenue protection officers to curb ticket fraud, which costs it around £2 million per year.

It has also introduced new ticket validation machines, which can be found at Edinburgh Waverley, Croy, Paisley Canal, and in Glasgow’s Central, Queen Street, High Street and Rutherglen stations.

The devices read both mobile and barcoded tickets at ticket gates before allowing passengers through.

They will flag up tickets that are not valid for a particular journey.

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They can also detect whether a passenger has travelled a longer distance than they claim. For instance, a passenger may claim to have only travelled from Edinburgh Haymarket to Waverley, when in fact they may have boarded in Glasgow.

The devices can even check if the customer is travelling from a station that is staffed, where they could have bought a ticket but chose not to.

Revenue protection officers will check tickets that are flagged by the devices.

If customers are caught intentionally using an invalid ticket, their details will be taken and they will be charged the correct fare.

For more serious cases, they may face being investigated by British Transport Police.

ScotRail has encouraged passengers to purchase tickets before boarding a train, which can be done at stations, ticket offices or online.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail head of customer operations, said: “Tackling ticket fraud has always been a priority for ScotRail.

“It’s a small minority of passengers who deliberately try to avoid paying the proper fare, but it’s honest, fare-paying passengers who bear the burden of lost investment in Scotland’s railway.

“The 42 new revenue protection officers will be deployed around the rail network, working from first trains to last.

“Those roles will really help support frontline colleagues with ticket irregularity, fraud, and any difficult situations.

“We are determined to drive down ticketless travel, making the rail network a safer and more secure environment for customers and colleagues alike.”