The struggling dad faces jail over a £257 fine he can’t afford on a £2.70 train ticket

The father of a Panashe Chidakwa added a rail card he didn’t have to pay for a train ticket from his house to a local butcher but was fined £257 which he says he can’t afford

Panashe Chidakwa from Longbridge, Birmingham,
Panashe Chidakwa from Longbridge, Birmingham

A struggling father has said he could face jail for a fine he can’t afford for a £2.70 train ticket.

Panashe Chidakwa said he will be forced to “sacrifice” food, pay rent and bills, and kindergarten fees for his three-year-old son to pay the fine and compensation.

The father-of-one has been slapped in court with a £257 fine over a ‘fraudulent’ £2.70 train ticket that took him from near his home in Longbridge to Kings Norton.

But the financial blow comes, because the 24-year-old is already struggling to keep his head above water during the livelihood crisis. Birmingham Live reports .

Kitchen assistant Mr. Chidakwa said, “These heartless people throw large sums of money at people like me who are struggling with money.

Panashe was fined £257



The father used an app to buy the train ticket from home to a butcher to pick up meat for dinner at the end of lockdown in January.

After what he said was a difficult few years due to the pandemic that left him at work and unemployed, he added a train ticket to the fare to lower the ticket price.

But Mr. Chidakwa did not have a train ticket at the time and was therefore slapped with a summons for the fine when he appeared in court.

He said: “They say the train ticket I bought was fraudulent. I said I would pay the money back.

Longbridge railway station from where Mr Chidwaka travelled


Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

“When I was in court, it happened so quickly. I just stood there and they explained the process to me.

“I said, ‘Listen I’m already behind on bills, if you look at my credit score it’s not good – we’re just coming out of lockdown.

“I would have thought that they would understand the situation of the people. They just threw numbers at me like I was a rich person.”

During the pandemic, Mr Chidakwa worked at a restaurant – which was forced to close amid the lockdowns.

As there were no buses at the times he worked, he said he sometimes had to pay a £20 taxi fare to travel from Longbridge to his work in Solihull.

“Basically, I wanted to work for free. I had problems with the minimum wage,” he said. “I’ve been trying to ask the court what if I can’t pay it because I’m struggling this year.

“They said, ‘You’re probably looking at jail’. It’s ridiculous.

“I’ll probably sacrifice rent or electricity. I’m already £3,000 in arrears. Then there are other bills, travel expenses and nursery fees for my son which is £52 a day. There will be something I will sacrifice, my phone might get cut off.

“It’s too much for me at the moment. People said life gets tough when you grow up – but I never expected it to get that tough.

“I’m just giving away money, that’s how it feels.”

The court has until June 6 to pay him £257.

When asked for his advice for anyone trying to dodge the fares amid the cost of living crisis, he added: “Just pay your full ticket. Don’t add a train ticket or anything you don’t have because you don’t want to pay 10 times the price; It’s something I never expected to happen to me.”

The press office of the judiciary said it could not comment on Mr Chidakwa’s individual case.

A spokeswoman said: “Regarding the sentencing of judges and prosecutors in accordance with the facts of the case, which may have aggravating or mitigating factors, and the guidelines for sentencing established by the Independent Judgment Council and the law established by Parliament.”

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