MORE fare dodgers are caught on the Newcastle to Hartlepool route than any other rail service in the region.

Northern Rail has released figures showing the number of passengers fined for travelling without a ticket as the operator launches an advertising campaign to deal with the problem.

Of the 422 passengers caught without a ticket, 60 had boarded their train at Newcastle, closely followed by 57 who got on at Middlesbrough.

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Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Northern, said: "We hear all sorts of excuses from passengers as to why they don’t have a ticket – they don’t have any money or a conductor did not come down the train and sell them one.

"It’s the passenger’s responsibility to buy a ticket, so they must seek out the conductor to get one or if that is not possible, then buy a ticket at their destination station."

Nationally, fare evasion is estimated to cost the rail industry £240m per year.