A Lewisham man has been jailed for his part in a counterfeit train ticket scam which made millions from London transport.

Mamadu Conte, 31, of Verdant Lane, was sentenced to 15 months after a lengthy BTP investigation snared the crime gang's ringleaders.

Inquiries began in October 2017 after ticket inspectors throughout London started spotting the fake train tickets.

The tickets appeared genuine, worked on ticket barriers, and covered weekly and monthly rail travel between zones one and six.

They were sold for around half the price of regular tickets.

It is estimated the scam cost rail operators around £8million while it operated between 2016 and 2019.

One of its ringleaders, Manuel Da Costa Silva, became a prime suspect early into the investigation – he was the distributor and part of an organised crime group which produced and sold the tickets in London.

The scam was described as a pyramid scheme.

Silva would receive mass quantities of fake tickets and pass them onto lower level distributors, who would either sell them to customers or sell them in bulk to even lower level distributors.

The 29-year-old made a huge profit from the scam – prosecutors noted his love of designer label clothes and his expensive cars, a Porsche Panamera and a BMW I8.

Two brothers, Stefan and Sorin Covrig, and a third man, Ciprian Buda, were the manufacturers of the tickets.

They used blank tickets, card readers, computer programs and printers to produce fake tickets on a massive scale.

When their homes were raided officers seized nearly 60,000 blank tickets, which if turned into counterfeits would fetch up to £20million.

After months of investigating the group, officers moved to arrest phase, raiding homes in London and Leicester and arresting Silva, Sorin Covrig and Buda.

A joint operation with Romanian Police tracked down Stefan Covrig in his native Romania.

Further investigation identified nine others working with the group, they were all arrested for their varying degrees of involvement.

The 13-member group appeared for sentencing at Inner London Crown Court on Friday 14 February.

They were all charged with fraud and jailed for a total of 24 years.

Conte was among nine others charged for lesser roles in the scam.