|Arrests, 100 licences revoked in fraud swoop|
A DSA examiner, an ADI and four test candidates have been arrested following a fraud investigation by police in London.
The DSA's fraud and integrity team conducted the raid on 20 February, arresting the examiner at a north London test centre. The agency has revealed that 100 driving licences have been revoked as part of the investigation.
The examiner is alleged to have taken as much as £3,000 per candidate in exchange for a test pass.
The head of the DSA's fraud and integrity team, Andy Rice, said: 'Although rare, when it happens, driving test fraud is a serious offence that puts the lives of innocent road users at risk.
'We have stringent procedures in place to ensure that any fraudulent activity will be detected. As today’s operation demonstrates, we take all allegations extremely seriously and will work with the police to bring offenders to justice. The safety of the general public and the integrity of the driving test are paramount.'
A BBC News camera crew was with the police when the raid was carried out. Watch the video here.
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|Driving Examiner arrested for taking bribes|
Andy Rice, DSA Head of Fraud and Integrity, said afterwards:
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|Motoring offences scam man Colin Lowndes jailed|
A man who masterminded a nationwide scam to help drivers escape motoring convictions has been jailed.
Colin Lowndes, 41, of Hattersley, Greater Manchester, helped more than 700 motorists avoid penalty points for speeding and other driving offences.
He admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and 30 counts of fraud relating to a separate scam.
Lowndes, of Clough End Road, was jailed for seven years at Manchester Crown Court on Friday.
His accomplice and brother-in-law, Lee Foster 40, of Backbower Lane, Hyde, was convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice following a trial.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Greater Manchester Police said offenders would pay Lowndes and Foster up to £400 and hand over their notices of intended prosecution (NIP).
They would then submit false nominations using false names from 11 addresses linked to Lowndes.
This would generate further notices to the "driver" and the process would be repeated until the legal time frame to prosecute had expired.
The prominence of the addresses used raised suspicion at ticket offices across the country and led to raids last May.
Foster was sentenced to 18 months in prison
Hundreds of NIP documents from police forces around the country, cash, blank envelopes and other items related to the operation were recovered.
Officers investigating the scam discovered that 728 offences were detected across 26 police forces between August 2006 and April 2010.
Of those, 632 were within Greater Manchester and more than 500 nominations were sent to Foster's home during the course of the scam.
As part of the wider investigation, more than 250 motorists who supplied their NIPs to Lowndes and Foster were arrested. Some of those have been convicted and received custodial sentences.
Sgt Mark Beales said: "Lowndes, with the help of his brother-in-law, ran an astonishing criminal enterprise that sought to make a mockery of road traffic laws and undermined the criminal justice system.
"He was simultaneously buying compromised credit card details that helped him live the kind of lifestyle many can only dream about and is a conman of considerable experience and expertise.
"The fact he has never sought a day's employment over recent years reflects a level of arrogance that suggests he thought he could continue to take from others for his own benefit without any repercussions."
He added: "While we went after the conspirators of this scam, we identified those who thought they could escape a motoring conviction, some of who have now ended up with a criminal conviction instead."
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|Blue Badge fraud crackdown for new year|
New badge “as secure as a banknote” says Minister
Tough new measures to crack down on drivers who abuse the disabled parking system - including a new Blue Badge design which is harder to forge - will come into force on 1 January, Transport Minister Norman Baker said today.
Previously, Blue Badges were made from card and handwritten but from the New Year disabled drivers will be able to apply for an electronically printed badge, much like a driving licence. The new badge will have security features such as a unique hologram, digital photo and serial number allowing parking attendants to check for genuine badges more easily through the windscreen.
Blue Badge fraud is estimated to cost the UK £46 million a year and it is generally accepted that reform is urgently needed. The new badge is part of a wider crackdown on misuse of the scheme to ensure disabled parking spaces can only be used by those most in need.
Other measures include:
Transport Minister, Norman Baker, said:
Blue Badges provide a vital lifeline to more than 2.5 million disabled people every year by prioritising key parking spaces close to important services. However, increasing levels of badge fraud have meant those spaces are often full.
Earlier this year, the Government announced the most comprehensive changes to the Blue Badge Scheme for 40 years. The launch of the new badge is the last stage in a raft of measures which have begun to come into force since April.
Helen Dolphin, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Disabled Motoring UK, said:
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