A FRAUDSTER caught trying to dupe bus staff ate a fake ticket — in an attempt to destroy the evidence.
Andrew Hawkins, aged 41, and Philip Oliver, aged 24, were caught out after a ticket spot check was carried out on a First Bus.
Oliver was removed from the bus after officers realised he was using a fake ticket in October last year.
But Hawkins, who had made the ticket on a home printer, followed Oliver off the bus and ate it before it could be used as evidence, Bolton Magistrates Court heard.
Marion Nolan, prosecuting, said: “When Oliver was taken off the bus Hawkins grabbed the ticket and ate it hence the obstructing a police officer as he was getting rid of evidence.
“The making of false documentation was discovered when they attended at his home. They found evidence that a ticket had been printed off.”
The court heard yesterday how Hawkins had been out of trouble for nearly 20 years but became involved in the frauds as he thought the buses to work were expensive and he was struggling to afford the fares, said Rebecca Sharp, who defended both men.
Oliver had recently got a new job as a customer services officer and was struggling with money as he had not been paid.
When he was arrested he would not name Hawkins, also a customer services officer, as the person who gave him the ticket. He had no previous convictions.
Hawkins, of Eldon Street, Tonge Moor, admitted obstructing a police officer, fraud and making an article for use in fraud.
Valerie Whittle, chairman of the bench, sentencing, ordered Hawkins to complete 60 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, pay £70 compensation and a £60 victim surcharge.
Oliver, of Little Holme Walk, Great Lever, who admitted fraud, was fined £75, ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge.
Both defendants were ordered to pay £85 costs.