March 24, 2011

It Never Pays to Cheat

FOUR learner drivers who paid another man to sit their theory exams were jailed as a judge issued a warning to others about the scam.

The impersonator is still at large, but Kayfee Hameed, Sami Hamadok, Agar Hamid and Ahmed Omar are behind bars.

Hameed and Hamadok, from Middlesbrough, were jailed for six months, while Omar. Hamid, the youngest, was jailed for four months.

Judge Peter Bowers said at Teesside Crown Court: “It is suspected that far more of this impersonation goes on than is detected.

“A deterrent sentence is essential.

You all have considerable mitigation, but it is important that others learn not to commit this sort of offence.

“Impersonating someone taking a driving test is serious. It allows you to drive on the roads without an adequate knowledge of road safety.”

Defence barristers told Judge Bowers that the four men did not realise they were committing a serious offence at the time, but do now.

The court heard that Hamadok paid the man to stand in for him during tests in Middlesbrough and in Doncaster in September 2009.

The Teesside attempt was thwarted by an official who noticed differences between the candidate’s and Hamadok’s documents.

Paul Cleasby, prosecuting, said that the impostor passed the test in Doncaster, which allowed Hamadok to sit his driving test, but he failed.

The court heard that the 36- year-old’s credit card was used to book theory tests in the names of Hameed, 35, and Hamid, 20.

The same impersonator passed the exam in Harrogate for Hamid and in Grimsby, for Omar, 30, without any suspicions being raised.

When he tried the same for Hameed in Middlesbrough, the same official challenged him because his description did not match Hameed’s.

Robin Turton, for Hamadok, of Percy Street, Middlesbrough, said he made unprompted admissions to police and helped as much as he could.

Brian Mark, for former factory worker Hameed, of Meath Street, Middlesbrough, said he was desperate to be able to drive.

Rachel Dyson said Omar, of Eaton Close, Bristol, struggled to find work in the UK and thought it would be easier if he had a driving licence.

Elyas Patel, for Hamid, a part-time restaurant cashier, of Spalding Towers, Leeds, said he was deeply ashamed of what he had done.

He said he committed the offence out of a wish to contribute to society, but had been lulled into the lair of an unscrupulous individual.

The court heard that the four men, who admitted conspiracy to commit fraud, paid £400 to £500 to the impersonator.

A spokesman for the Driving Standards Agency said: “Driving test impersonation is a serious offence, which puts law abiding road-users at risk.

“We investigate all suspected incidents and work closely with the police to make sure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

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