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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 16:51 GMT
Driving test fraudster jailed
Adolphus Sorhaindo
Sorhaindo was caught by a suspicious test inspector
A man who used a variety of disguises to sit about 150 driving tests for others has been jailed for nine months.

Adolphus Sorhaindo, 63, from Maida Vale, north London, made about 50,000 from the scam, a court heard.

He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain property by deception on the basis of seven theory tests and 15 practical tests.

But police say he sat at least 99 practical tests and as many as 143 theory tests over three years.

Kingston Crown Court heard the grandfather's clients could opt for a so-called "total package" with both theory and practical tests for a fixed price of 550 all-in.

Sorhaindo paid 5,995 to the Driving Standards Agency with his own credit card before his activities were finally uncovered by a suspicious driving examiner.

All the officers who worked on this case were horrified at the ease with which Sorhaindo was able to impersonate so many others
Chief Inspector Mike Harper
Before changes to the system of provisional licences were brought in, Sorhaindo simply sat theory tests on behalf of others carrying a photograph of himself signed on the reverse to back up his claim to be his customer.

This enabled to him to sit the practical test with the necessary documentation.

Following the introduction of photographic provisional licences he simply took his chances posing as his customer - but limiting himself only to black males.

The court was told he even donned a false moustache and often pretended to be people half his age.

Licences found

The service continued uninterrupted for three years until senior driving examiner Steve Aris thought he recognised Sorhaindo.

Mr Aris personally toured three test centres in and around London filming the former bus driver in action.

He was finally arrested in January 2003 at which time officers found a number of photographs of Sorhaindo which were certified as being of other people.

They also found 26 provisional licences at his home.

Following the case, Chief Inspector Mike Harper, said: "All the officers who worked on this case were horrified at the ease with which Sorhaindo was able to impersonate so many others.

"Although seemingly harmless the potential dangers of putting unqualified drivers on public roads could be catastrophic."

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