Man handed prison term for nationwide driving test scam

IPSWICH: A man who travelled the country taking theory and practical driving tests for learners is today beginning a 20-month jail term.

Balbir Singh was arrested at the driving test centre at Ransomes Business Park in Ipswich after he turned up to take a practical driving test in someone else’s name, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Singh, 41, of no fixed address, admitted 16 offences of possessing false identity documents with intent and fraud by making a false representation. He asked for 12 similar offences to be considered.

Sentencing Singh, Judge Michael Carroll said the defendant had travelled to driving test centres all over the country and on one occasion had taken tests in two different towns on the same day.

He said the offences had enabled people who were not qualified to drive to be behind the wheel which resulted in the roads being far less safe for other motorists.

Judge Carroll said that as well as taking tests as a bogus candidate, credit card statements found by police showed that Singh had also been involved in booking some of the tests.

Patricia Doggett, prosecuting, said Singh had attended theory and practical driving test centres around the country equipped with provisional driving licences in the names of other people.

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She said that on May 5 this year, Singh had attended a test centre in Bradford at 8.30am and had then travelled to Blackpool for another test at 1pm.

She said that between April 23 and May 13 he had also gone to test centres in Birmingham, Hastings, Canterbury and Weymouth to take driving tests in the names of other people.

Neil Saunders, for Singh, said he had come to the UK in 1995 on a tourist visa but had stayed in the country after the visa expired.

He said Singh had been approached about the driving test scam while he was working as a London bus driver.

Andry Rice, head of the Driving Standards Agency fraud and integrity team, welcomed the custodial sentencing.

“People who impersonate at driving tests present a real risk to all road users, as they provide an entitlement to drive to those who have not been assessed to show that they are competent to do so,” he said.