A 19-YEAR-OLD accused of short-changing rail commuters has been jailed for four months following a string of thefts from railway station ticket machines.

Charlie Brooker, from Erith, was arrested by the British Transport Police (BTP) after members of rail staff reported a ticket machine at Kidbrooke Station had been blocked.

According to police, the machine had been tampered with in March, last year, leaving scores of commuters out of pocket.

An investigation using CCTV was carried out and Brooker was arrested on April 28.

Brooker appeared at Bexley Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to six counts of theft, with a further 41 offences taken into consideration.

He was sentenced to four months jail in a young offenders' institute on July 13.

BTP Detective Constable Vanessa Cottington said: "Brooker was prolific in his crimes, targeting ticket machines along the line of route in south-east London and Kent, with many, many commuters being left short-changed.

"He was well-known by rail staff and police for his crimes and was eventually undone after police were able to use improved CCTV technology to track his movements between stations.

"The technology allowed us to secure vital evidence as well as enabling us to direct officers to arrest him in the act."