Two brothers have been banned from the entire NET tram network after repeated incidents of fare evasion and anti-social behaviour towards staff and passengers on trams.
On 7 December 2016, Lloyd Russell aged 25 and Jason Russell aged 34, of no fixed abode were both sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and fined £285 and £200 respectively. They were both issued with a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order, prohibiting them from travelling on any NET tram throughout its entire network.
During 2016, the Russell brothers became a cause of concern to the NET tram network due to their behaviour towards tram staff, their impact on other passengers and their repeated non-payment of fares.
On at least two occasions in June 2016, Tram Revenue Officers had to escort the brothers off the tram for not being in possession of purchased tickets. On one occasion this was done in conjunction with a police operation, resulting in them both being issued with £50 fixed penalty notices.
On 2 September 2016, the two brothers boarded the tram in Bulwell and were threatening and abusive towards fellow passengers, including throwing water over one passenger who asked them to stop shouting and swearing.
The pair were caught in these acts of antisocial behaviour by a passenger who videoed their behaviour and posted this on Facebook. The footage uploaded onto social media caused outrage and disgust among those who viewed it. This footage helped the investigations by both the Police and Community Protection teams to identify the brothers.
Councillor Heaton, Portfolio holder for Community Safety said: “Passengers and staff on public transport rightly expect not to be subjected to antisocial behaviour and so this is an excellent outcome that offers them protection from further incidents.
“These brothers caused immense alarm, harassment and distress to passengers. Their level of abuse and threatening behaviour resulted in one of them being charged for common assault, demonstrating the need for their right to travel on board being taken from them.”
City centre neighbourhood policing Inspector Ruby Burrow said: “This pair had continuously threatened and verbally abused staff and innocent members of the public for some time. They proved that they are not responsible enough to use the tram service so I am pleased that they have received this ban.
“I would like to thank those who videoed their behaviour and posted it on Facebook, which was a huge help to the investigation. I would also like to thank our partners – Community Protection and the NET tram network for working with us to successfully identify the brothers and for assisting with their conviction. We hope this sends the message out that irresponsible, rude and violent behaviour will not be tolerated on our public transport services.”
A NET Spokesman said: “We’re pleased to see that such strong action has been taken against these two individuals for what was clearly unacceptable behaviour. The welfare of our customers and staff is our top priority and we maintain a zero-tolerance policy on foul and abusive behaviour anywhere on our network.
Fortunately, incidents such as this one are very rare, but when we are made aware of them we will always report it to the police and do all we can to assist with their investigations.
The Magistrate stated in court at the time of sentencing that even if the Russell brothers were to pay their fare and sit quietly on board, they would still be in breach of this order; they are simply no longer allowed to travel on an NET tram. If either of these brothers breaches this condition they risk arrest and being brought back before the court. Breach of a CBO carries the risk of a five-year prison sentence.