A crook turned up to DVSA centres across England with a bandage wrapped around his head - impersonating customers whose driving theory tests he’d agreed to take in their place.

Izmir Senaj, 28, was caught after an eagle-eyed staff member at Swindon’s theory test centre recognised the bandaged fraudster from a wanted appeal and called the police.

Jailing the conman for two years and four months, Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “It is clear from the impact statement from the [Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency] that this is a widespread process that is causing considerable problems and this court has to send a clear message.

“Your actions show a callous disregard for the...system which is designed to ensure that only those qualified to drive safely get behind the wheel of a car.

“This could have had significant consequences both for road users and pedestrians and therefore my public duty requires me to reflect that.”

Noting that Senaj had twice been jailed for driving test fraud since 2014 and committed the latest offences while on licence, Judge Taylor added: “You clearly don’t care and you are prepared to act with blatant dishonesty without any regard to the consequences.”

In late 2018 and early 2019, Senaj went to four test centres in southern England to take the driving theory test on others’ behalf.

On October 11, 2018, he arrived early to an appointment at the Eastbourne test centre. Dressed in a high visibility vest and wearing a bandage around his head and a plaster over his nose, he handed over a provisional driving licence in the name of an Albanian man.

He explained to the receptionist he had been working on a building site earlier that day when he was struck by scaffolding and was sent home early by first aiders. He was allowed to take the test, which he passed.

Five days later, on October 16, he used a similar cover story at the Hastings test centre – this time claiming to have fallen off a ladder. After he was recognised by the same staff member who’d dealt with him days earlier in Eastbourne, he claimed he needed to use the toilet then left the centre.

On November 28, 2018, he was turned away from the Harlow test centre as staff were not convinced he was the Serbian national whose provisional driving licence he presented at the front desk.

Two months later, on January 24, 2019, a staff member at the Swindon theory test centre in Milton Road recognised the bandaged fraudster from an internal DVSA poster. She allowed him to take the test, buying her time to wait for police to arrive.

Interviewed by fraud investigators, Senaj claimed he owed gambling debts to two of the people he impersonated – including one whom he described as a “violent gangster”.

Ms Taylor said Senaj was sentenced to 11 months’ imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court in 2014 for seven offences of driving test fraud. He received a three year sentence for another seven offences in 2017. In total, he had five convictions for 28 offences.

Tanveer Qureshi, mitigating, said his client had fled his native Kosovo after his father and other family members were murdered by Serbian troops. His mother died late last year.

The recent birth of his daughter was a “life-changing experience”, he said. “He’s lost all of his family now, apart from his partner and his daughter, which is why it is particularly [important] for him that whatever custodial term your honour has in mind is kept to a minimum.”

Mr Qureshi suggested his client had been a “one man band”. However, Judge Taylor told the defendant he was satisfied to the criminal standard there was a group or gang element to the crimes and it was organised. 

Senaj, of East Ham, London, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to four counts of fraud.

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