'Fare Dodger' Throttled By Officials

This is the moment an inspector throttles a suspected fare dodger.The official puts both his hands round the man's throat while a colleague helps pin him to the ground by holding down his arms, legs and body.

A citizen journalist passenger waiting at Southend East railway station photographed the astonishing scenes on his mobile phone.

It is claimed the man refused to pay his fare, became abusive and spat on the inspector who then chased him along the crowded platform.

Commuters said the suspect was pushed on to the platform's concrete surface and held forcibly by two staff from the c2c trains company until police arrived. Bystanders were warned not to intervene.

The passenger who took the pictures said: "The gentlemanwas panicking and visibly experiencing problems with his breathing. He was trying to get into a position which would relax the grip on his windpipe but there was no reaction from the c2c staff.

"It was shocking. The method used to restrain him, holding the man with two hands around the throat and pinning his arms, legs and torso, was inappropriate and not consistent with approved control and restraint procedures." The suspected fare dodger was arrested by police on suspicion of travel fraud and threatening behaviour and released on bail.

The inspector has been put on backroom duties pending an investigation.

Passengers who are not able to show a valid ticket are warned they will be liable for a minimum  £20 penalty fare. A c2c spokesman said the man had failed to stop when asked to produce a ticket so staff detained him. The spokesman added: "Until we can download the CCTV images and get some feedback from Essex police, the revenue inspector who is holding on to the person in the photos has been relieved of his public duties and will be working behind the scenes. We don't expect passengers when we ask them for a ticket to offer verbal abuse."

Fare dodgers are believed to cost the industry  £210 million a year in lost revenue on London commuter routes. London Underground loses  £25 million.

A spokeswoman for Travelwatch, London's passenger watchdog, said: "Obviously we want to see fare dodgers caught, but there are ways and means to do that appropriately."

This was the reaction from bloggers:

Too many people are allowed to get away with not paying fares or for that matter any responsability in their life.

Lets not even start on people with mobile phones playing music out loud!

Ian, London

To Henry and Ian H., no one is saying that the fare dodger should have been allowed to get away with abusive behaviour but can you really say that holding him down in a manner that caused him breathing difficulties was a justifiable and appropriate response?

Shamalie, London

Behave decently and you will be treated as such. If you don't then you deserve what you get.

Henry, UK

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