A Thornton Heath man has been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds he fraudulently claimed from Transport for London, or could face two years in jail.

Manish Patel, of Wiltshire Road, used the TfL delay repay system to fraudulently claim £14,986.80 over two years.

On Tuesday (January 9), the 47-year-old appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court where he was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £15,000 compensation to TfL.

Patel pleaded guilty at an earlier date after he was charged with one count of fraud by false representation.

Detective Constable Mark Pink from British Transport Police said he hoped this ruling would act as a deterrent to others.

"After two years of making fake claims, Patel’s luck finally ran out," he said.

"He will now have repay the £15,000 he fraudulently claimed from TfL, let’s hope he hasn’t spent it all. If he fails to do so, he could face time in jail."

Claims first started being made in March 2015 where Patel would make one or two refund requests each day.

This wasn't enough for Patel and he steadily increase the number of claims he was making.

By 2016 he was at times making up to ten claims per day.

Mr Pink said the money Patel could have been used by TfL elsewhere.

“Fraud cases such as this may appear to be victimless, however it can have a big impact on the rail industry.

"The £15,000 he claimed could have otherwise been spent investing to improve the transport network for the travelling public.

"We take every report extremely seriously and work hard to identify and clamp down on offending.

“I am sure this sentence will act as a strong deterrent to anyone thinking of exploiting the delay repay system – you will be caught.”

Patel will also have to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay prosecution costs of £420.