Make sure your phone has plenty of juice left before taking a train on the London Overground. Plugging your device into a train’s outlet could get you arrested, as one unlucky commuter learned the hard way.
Robin Lee, a 45-year-old artist, plugged his phone into an outlet while taking the train between Hackney Wick and Camden Road on July 10th when he was unexpedly confronted by a community support officer, who accused him of abstracting electricity from the train car.
“She was quite aggressive about it and kept saying it’s a crime,” Lee told the Evening Standard. “We were just coming into the station, and there happened to be about four police officers on the platform. She called to them and said ‘This guy’s been abstracting electricity, he needs to be arrested.'”
Despite his protestations, Lee was arrested and taken to the British Transport Police (BTP) HQ on Islington’s Caledonian Road and was later released.
The BTP released a statement following the incident, claiming that, “Shortly after 3.30pm, a 45-year-old man from Islington was arrested on suspicion of abstracting electricity, for which he was de-arrested shortly after. He was further arrested for unacceptable behaviour and has been reported for this offence.”
Considering that almost everyone owns a phone now and battery technology is pretty terrible overall, a free electrical outlet is like an open invitation to most of us.While some nationwide rail services do not have policies in place that prohibit commuters from charging their phones, Lee’s experience on the London Overground makes it clear that rail services need to inform their passengers of this policy.