A Romanian man who used a fake driving licence in order to drive in Britain has been given a suspended jail sentence.
David Lampitt, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday that an application was received by the DVLA for a British photo card licence for Marian Branzei in 2011.
He was required to provide proof of identity and submitted a Romanian identity card and driving licence but during the processing of the application discrepancies were noticed and it was sent to an investigation team.
The following month expert established it was counterfeit and the police got involved.
Branzei was interviewed in June that year and said he believed it was genuine. He explained that he had a friend who was returning to Romania who agreed to arrange to sign up for the appropriate documents for him for £100.
He expected to have to go back to his home country then to go through certain tests but had received a phone call saying that was not necessary, if he sent a further £300 that would be sufficient to get his licence without taking any test at all.
Police did not track Branzei down again for the case to go further until this year.
Nick Worsley, representing him, told the court that Branzei was told he could buy the licence without returning home and understood that to be “common practice” in Romania for the acquisition of such documents.
Branzei, 30 of Ward Street, Crackenedge, Dewsbury, admitted possessing an identity document with improper intention and was given eight months in prison suspended for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £300 costs.
Judge Sally Cahill QC told him: “Even if you did believe it was genuine, you knew you had obtained it fraudulently when you simply paid money for the document and had not taken the appropriate driving tests.”
“You then used that document to try and obtain a driving licence in this country even if you did not use it in any other way such as trying to evade border controls.”
“I hope you are going to prove to this court that this was a one-off offence that will not be repeated.”