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28/01/2015 - South London

Record numbers of driving test cheats caught using lookalikes to try to pass

Almost 700 learner drivers were caught using impersonators to stand in for them for either their theory or practical driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has announced the results of a major clampdown on attempted fraud cover just three-quarters of the current financial year.

The number of attempted fraudsters caught has increased by more than a fifth over the previous twelve months.

Criminal gangs are understood to have been charging up to £1,800 to find someone willing to take a driving test on the learner’s behalf.

As a result, examiners and staff working in driving test centres are being given training to identify potential impostors.

This follows a decision to prevent foreign language interpreters from sitting in on driving tests to translate the answer the names of traffic signs. it was feared that some of these translators were giving candidates the answers.

All driving tests have to be conducted in either English or Welsh.

Andy Rice, head of the DVSA’s anti-fraud department said the increasing number of detections is probably due to better enforcement rather than any increase in criminal activity.

He told The Times, that criminal gangs would charge someone £800 to sit the theory test while £1,800 would be required to due the practical exam.

Alastair Peoples of the DVSA said: ‘Driving test fraud is a serious offence and is dealt with accordingly.

‘We have stringent measures in place to detect fraudulent activity and work closely with the police to bring all offenders to justice.’

During 2014/15, 188 people have been arrested with 55 convictions. The courts have jailed 37 people while a further 97 driving licences have been revoked.