Driving test cheat who claims he impersonated learner driver and sat theory for £200 avoids jail

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Driving test cheat who claims he impersonated learner driver and sat theory for £200 avoids jail

A driving test cheat caught masquerading as a learner driver has escaped jail despite being branded a 'prolific nationwide impersonator' by examiners

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A driving test cheat caught masquerading as a learner driver has escaped jail despite being branded a ‘prolific nationwide impersonator’ by examiners from the DVSA.

Aaron Farrell, 27, was stopped at a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency test centre in York – 62 miles from his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester – as he was about to sit a theory exam booked in under another person’s name.

Staff became suspicious as they recognised Farrell’s face from previous tests sat by an imposter. It emerged he was paid £200 to sit the test on behalf of a man called Azizullah Adikhail.

In a statement test centre manager Daniel Clapham said: ‘His mugshot had been circulated on a list of people to look out for.’

At Tameside Magistrates’ Court, Farrell, from Turf Hill, Rochdale whose father lives in Pakistan admitted fraud by false representation and another charge of possession of an article for use in fraud.

Driving test cheat Aaron Farrell (pictured outside Tameside Magistrates' Court), 27, caught masquerading as a learner driver has escaped jail despite being branded a 'prolific nationwide impersonator' by examiners from the DVSA

Driving test cheat Aaron Farrell (pictured outside Tameside Magistrates' Court), 27, caught masquerading as a learner driver has escaped jail despite being branded a 'prolific nationwide impersonator' by examiners from the DVSA

Driving test cheat Aaron Farrell (pictured outside Tameside Magistrates’ Court), 27, caught masquerading as a learner driver has escaped jail despite being branded a ‘prolific nationwide impersonator’ by examiners from the DVSA

Farrell (pictured) was stopped at a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency test centre in York - 62 miles from his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester - as he was about to sit a theory exam booked in under another person's name

Farrell (pictured) was stopped at a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency test centre in York - 62 miles from his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester - as he was about to sit a theory exam booked in under another person's name

Farrell (pictured) was stopped at a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency test centre in York – 62 miles from his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester – as he was about to sit a theory exam booked in under another person’s name

He faced jail but was instead sentenced to 24-weeks in prison suspended for 12 months with 20 rehabilitation activity hours. He was ordered to be electronically tagged for six months and pay £213 in costs and a victim surcharge.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said: ‘On the 23rd of March 2022, staff at the York Test Centre in the Clifford Chambers building were invigilating participants taking their driving theory tests.

‘The defendant came into the test centre and showed staff his ID… which showed the portrait, date of birth and address of Azizullah Adikhail.

‘CCTV cameras in the centre identified the defendant as someone who they believed had been taking false theory tests. Test centre manager, Daniel Clapham noted that the defendant was a prolific nation-wide impersonator that is likely to use a number of identities. He is on a list of individuals who would carry out fraud.’

‘In his statement Mr Clapham said: ‘Among the staff, we agreed to let him take the test but would keep an eye on him and had already alerted the police.

‘Before that we asked him for his name and date of birth, which he answered correctly. However, he hesitated when we asked him for his address and then gave an incorrect address.’

Miss Kenyon added: ‘When the police arrived, the defendant bolted out of the door and tried to make a run for it. He did not get far before he was apprehended and arrested. He was then taken to York custody suite where he was later interviewed. He gave no comment in his interview, but police were able to ascertain his real name and address. The fake ID was also apprehended.’

Farrell had a number of previous convictions, including perverting the course of justice in 2020, for which he received 21 months’ imprisonment after he helped clean up incriminating fingerprints left at the scene of a savage rape.

He also had an attempted robbery conviction against his name from 2017 as well as a number of breaches and offences of burglary.

In mitigation, his lawyer Martha Whitehead said: ‘His reason for being there that day was because he was destitute and desperate. He accepted an offer from a friend for £200 and he took that offer. He did it to support himself, he had recently lost his job and was tempted.’

She added: ‘This offence occurred over a year ago and he pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.

‘The defendant has had a difficult start in life. His father has been living out in Pakistan for years and he has had minimal contact with him. His mother has been in and out of hospital his whole life with schizophrenia. This has meant that he has been care since the age of five.’

‘He is now in a relationship with his girlfriend Sharon, who he lives with at Ansdell Road in Rochdale. Despite being let go from his job he is currently doing ad-hoc shifts with DPD, which earns him around £240 a week. He is also in receipt of universal credit.’

'I did it out of desperation, I was sacked from my job and I had no income,' Farrell (pictured) told magistrates when asked about his motivation

'I did it out of desperation, I was sacked from my job and I had no income,' Farrell (pictured) told magistrates when asked about his motivation

‘I did it out of desperation, I was sacked from my job and I had no income,’ Farrell (pictured) told magistrates when asked about his motivation

When asked by magistrates why he did it, Farrell himself told the court: ‘I did it out of desperation, I was sacked from my job and I had no income. I will never do it again in my life your honour. I’m sorry.’

In sentencing, Chairperson Celia Metcalfe said: ‘The most worrying thing to consider about this offence was that a person could have ended up driving on the roads not even having taken the theory tests.’

‘You would have gotten away with it if it was not for the vigilance of the test centre staff.’

Before releasing him from the dock, Ms Metcalfe told Farrell, ‘I just don’t want you doing it again, you’ve been given a chance now and you have to prove it.’

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