A young man whose lifetime ambition of joining the Royal Navy was put in jeopardy when he was mistakenly sold a child’s train ticket is back on course to begin his career.
Jordan Elliott, 20, of Treorchy, travelled to Plymouth last month to take up the place he was offered as a fresh recruit.
But he was sent home after telling navy officials he had been summonsed to appear in court for not having a valid rail ticket.
He says the prosecution by an investigations company contracted to Arriva Trains Wales stemmed from an incident on New Year’s Eve last year when he travelled by train to Cardiff’s Queen Street station. He said: “There are no ticket machines or booking office at Treorchy station, and the normal thing is to buy your ticket on the train.
“I asked the conductor for a ticket to Queen Street, handed over a note and put the ticket and change in my pocket.
“When I got to Queen Street there were some men collecting tickets. One of them took mine and saw it was a ticket for a child. I didn’t realise that was the case until then, because I’d put it straight in my pocket when I bought it.
“I was told it was invalid, but when I told them it had been given to me by a conductor, who had obviously made a mistake, they weren’t interested. I’m not sure whether I paid the adult fare or child fare, because I put the change into my pocket without looking at it.
“They wouldn’t accept the difference of £2.50 between a child fare and adult fare when I offered to pay it.”
Mr Elliott was told by navy officials that he would not be able to join unless the matter was resolved in his favour.
He was due to face prosecution next week, but the summons has been withdrawn after he agreed to pay an administration fee of £50 plus the £2.50.
Mr Elliott’s mother Adele Elliott said: “They offered to withdraw the summons if we paid £52.50. While our instinct was not to pay the fee, we decided it had dragged on long enough. Jordan was obviously going to plead not guilty and the case would have been adjourned.
“He was feeling very down, wasn’t jogging and had stopped answering emails from friends.”
Mr Elliott said: “I’m over the moon that this nightmare is over. It was ridiculous to suggest I had told the conductor I was a child – I’m 5ft 11in tall and at the time had a full beard.”
He will now join the Royal Navy on October 6.