WITHIN months of being released from prison a Coventry man who has made a profession out of sitting driving theory tests for other people was back to his old tricks.
Swallaxadin Bashir sat at least a dozen theory tests for people at centres throughout England and Wales in the course of a year, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Bashir, 42, of Cromwell Street, Coventry, pleaded guilty to fraud by attending centres to take theory tests on behalf of genuine candidates between August 2018 and August this year.
And, in a prosecution brought by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, he also admitted possessing identity documents, provisional driving licences, with intent to deceive.
David Murray, defending, said Bashir, who had a number of previous convictions for similar offences, ‘understands that custody is inevitable.’
Mr Murray said that the prosecution had alleged there were 27 episodes of Bashir posing as candidates to take theory tests, but the defence had identified 12.
After established that Bashir was to be dealt with on the basis of those 12 occasions, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano adjourned sentencing until the New Year, and remanded Bashir in custody.
She explained she could not sentence him straight away because of other cases she had to deal with, but told him: “You have been here before, and you know it’s going to be a prison sentence.”
Bashir had appeared at the court in August 2017 when he was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to two charges of fraud at DVSA test centres in Manchester and Wigan.
On that occasion prosecutor Amy Jackson had said: “Both offences are the same, taking a driving theory test for another and pretending to be that other person.”
She explained that people who apply to take the theory test have to turn up at a test centre with their provisional photo licence and answer security questions before sitting the test.
In June 2017 Bashir turned up at the driving theory test centre in Manchester posing as a Mr Anezi.
But the staff were suspicious, and as they compared the licence he had produced with his signature, he retrieved his belongings from a locker and left.
Then on July 1, he turned up at the test centre in Wigan posing as another learner, and signed in in that name.
“Staff were not particularly happy, but the signature was very close, and he answered all the security questions, so the test was taken and passed,” said Miss Jackson.
But the details were passed to DVSA investigator Paul Chinery who, having had previous dealings with Bashir, recognised him when he checked the CCTV recording from the centre.
The court heard that Bashir charged £500 for each test he sat successfully, and it was not known how many he had sat without being detected.
But Miss Jackson observed: “While there is financial gain, the serious aspect is the danger posed by people who have not passed tests being enabled to be on the roads.”
She added that at Liverpool Crown Court in February 2014, for fraudulently taking a theory test in Wigan, Bashir had been given a six-month suspended prison sentence.
In July that year, having gone on to commit offences at test centres in London, he appeared at Wood Green Crown Court and was jailed for 12 months, consecutive to four months of the suspended sentence which he was also ordered to serve.
In July 2016 he was jailed for two years at Isleworth Crown Court for 13 identical frauds.
He was on licence from that sentence at the time of the offences for which he was jailed in 2017 – and he would have again been on licence when he committed his latest offences.