A gang of fraudsters charged provisional licence holders up to £2,500 to take their driving tests for them.
The group, headed by Dzemail Trstena, aged 45, from Belgium who travelled to the West Midlands from London
They charged hefty fees to sit theory or practical driving tests for them at centres in the West Midlands and Home Counties.
A joint investigation between the NCA and Met Police’s Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) and the Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) identified that the same person, Emil Petkov, aged 30, from Bulgaria, was the subject of a large number of impersonation reports being filed by test centres.
CCTV footage confirmed Petkov being turned away from over 30 theory tests between 2010 and 2014 when the photographic ID he presented was not his.
Investigators identified two further impersonators, Musa Matluma, aged 34, from Macedonia, who was arrested whilst fraudulently sitting a theory test, and Colin Julian, aged 42, a bus driver from London.
Trstena and Julian were arrested at their homes in July 2014, while Petkov handed himself in to Leytonstone Police Station later that day.
Searches found them to be in possession of a large number of provisional licences and theory test booking documents, reports the Birmingham Mail.
Julian and Trstena are known to have been responsible for a successful practical driving test impersonation at Kettering in June 2014, however the total number of successful tests cannot be quantified.
Seven provisional licence holders, whose documents were found in the group’s possession, have also been prosecuted.
Investigators believe their main motivation in using impersonators was to bypass the language restriction of taking the test in English or Welsh.
Trstena, Petkov and Julian were sentenced on 12 August at Blackfriars Crown Court to 15, 12 and nine months respectively. Matluma was sentenced to eight months earlier this year when seven provisional licence holders, none from the West Midlands were also dealt with.
Spencer Barnett from the Organised Crime Partnership said: These men conspired to make a criminal profit with no regard for the risk that they were helping potentially dangerous and unskilled drivers onto Britain’s roads.
Andy Rice, Head of Counter-Fraud and Investigations at DVSA said: Although instances of impersonation fraud are rare in relation to over three million theory and practical driving tests which are taken each year, DVSA continues to take them seriously, and work closely with the police and NCA to bring offenders to justice.
News Source MirrorNews