A 14-year-old girl has been ordered to do voluntary service such as cutting back brambles in Wormwood Scrubbs if she wants to continue travel for free on buses.

Katrina Massey of Gatley Avenue was travelling on the 418 bus last month when a bus inspector took her Oyster card because she had tippexed over her photo, which she disliked, and taped over it with one of her and her friends.

Her mother Brenda, 44, applied for, and received, another Oyster card for Katrina which she has been using correctly since.

But Transport for London (TfL) now say that the card will be suspended for a year unless Katrina completes its Earn Your Travel Back scheme.

Damaging or defacing the card, which allows those aged 11-15 free travel on London’s buses and trams and discounted rates on other services is againstthe company's behaviour code and a spokesman said no exception can be made.

They described the work she would have to do, such as building paths, woodland maintenance, bramble cutting, waterway management and allotment clearance as "an enjoyabe four or five hourse of awareness".

But Mrs Massey believes the punishment is out of all proportion to Katrina's crime and she is "being made an example of".

She said: "I have written to TfL appealing against this twice already and Katrina has written a letter of apology herself.

"She didn’t realise what she had done and it was a childish mistake.

"I just can’t believe that they want her to do this. If she had made a bad mistake I would insist that she should do it, but they are just making an example of her.

"Katrina is quite upset about it as she has homework and mock exams and can’t really spend time doing the voluntary service.

"I want other parents to be aware that this could happen to their children."

But a TfL spokesman said the behaviour code is well-publicised and that the rules were breached.

He said: "Mrs Massey’s daughter was using a defaced photo card which is a breach of the rules.

"Regardless of whether she liked her photo or not, if the photo on the card cannot be identified, we don’t know who is using the card to obtain the concessions.

"It is a privilege, not a right, to travel for free and this is a firm but fair approach.

"The wording of the behaviour code is attached to the zip Oyster card when they are sent through to every person who receives one.

"It is also referenced on the application form and the full version is available on the TfL website.

"We offer the Earn Your Travel Back scheme, but individuals do not have to complete it. They can start paying full-price for travel instead."

He said the scheme, introduced by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in August 2009, is designed to be a positive experience, not a punishment, and said it was set up by the Mayor to provide young people with the chance to earn back their concessionary travel by undertaking an activity that benefits the community.

A TfL document sent to Mrs Massey states that approximately 100 young people successfully complete an environmental volunteering session every month.

A date and location for the session can be booked by the individual and the activities range from bramble cutting in Wormood Scrubs to path construction in Plumstead Common.

The spokesman added: "It is an enjoyable four or five hours of awareness, spent re-engaging with the local community.

"We do surveys of the children before and afterwards and most of them usually say that the day makes them want to volunteer in their community.

"It is not ‘community service’ or back-breaking labour. It is not as awful as it may sound."

TfL refused Mrs Massey's first two appeals against the decision and she is waiting to hear back on the third, and final, appeal she has made.

Refusing the second appeal, Jamie Cole, youth and penalty fares manager, said: "After careful consideration of the points you raised in your appeal, I have decided that the travel concession was correctly suspended.

"When pointed out to Katrina that her card was damaged she said 'I didn't like my photo' which would imply that she was aware her card was damaged."

TfL's Behaviour Code

When on London’s public transport network or premises, always act sensibly and treat others as you would like to be treated. Your travel concession may be withdrawn if we believe that you have behaved in an anti-social or criminal way.

We can withdraw your travel concession for behaviour such as:

Smoking Using offensive or threatening language or bullying others

Playing music out loud

Damaging or defacing your Oyster photocard or using a damaged or defaced Oyster photocard

Letting other people use your Oyster photocard Committing any type of crime