A Facebook page has been set up to tip off commuters about ticket inspections on the Tyne and Wear Metro network.
The Checky Watch page was created by Ben Potts Heywood from Jarrow on September 26 and attracted more than 10,000 ‘likes’ in under a week.
In a statement on the social networking site, the 21-year-old writes: “We are dedicated to informing the public where metro checkys are and the best times to avoid them.
“Update whenever you see a checky! THIS PAGE IS MERELY TO KNOCK TICKET PRICES DOWN COZ THERE REDICULOUS.”
According to the page, a public protest against ticket prices is planned at Monument Metro station in Newcastle on Sunday October 7.
It’s believed the page may have been set up as reaction to the installation of automatic ticket gates at key Metro stations across the network, due to be completed in 2013.
Sharon Kelly, Director of Customer Services at DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates the Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “This page promotes criminal activity and as a result we expect Facebook to shut it down as they have before with similar pages.
“Our ticket inspectors change their work patterns and the routes they operate on specifically to prevent groups like this from being successful.
“The inspectors are supported by the Northumbria Police Metro Unit, a special unit which specifically polices our network.
“Travelling on the Metro without a valid ticket could lead to a prosecution in the criminal courts and a fine of up to £500.
“Fare dodgers should ask themselves if it’s worth risking a criminal record and a big fine for the sake of paying just a few pounds for a ticket.”
Northumbria Police Metro Unit Inspector, Dave Gould, said: “It is an offence to travel on the Metro without a ticket and anyone who choses to do so can be prosecuted.
“We work closely with Metro staff and support ticket inspectors in keeping the trains safe and secure for all passengers.”
Northumbria Police say they are aware of the Facebook page and are working with Nexus to see what action can be taken.
Mr Potts Heywood refused to comment.
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