The UK Border Agency reports that an Algerian man living in London has been jailed for five-and-half years for running a forgery ‘factory’ producing false identity documents to help immigration offenders stay in the country illegally.
Kamel Bohat, 44, operated from a North London café from where he supplied forged National Insurance cards, UK driving licences, foreign passports and other identity documents which could have been used by immigrants to access jobs or services in the UK.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard that UK Border Agency officers and the Metropolitan Police, acting on intelligence received, visited the La Roma Café, Blackstock Road, N4, on 30 July 2008.
A search of the premises found numerous false documents, more than 100 passport-sized photographs and equipment used to make the documents.
Further investigations and forensic evidence identified Bohat as the lead person involved in the forgeries.
On 8 September 2010, Metropolitan police officers found Bohat at Dorchester House, Great Western Road, W11, where he was arrested.
Found with him were further false forged identity documents and items used in the making of forgeries.
He admitted seven counts of facilitating immigration offences and the production and possession of forged or counterfeit identity documents and was sentenced on 26 January.
Chris Foster, who leads the UK Border Agency Immigration Crime Teams, said:
‘We have successfully disrupted a significant criminal enterprise which was supplying fraudulent documents.
‘There is no doubt that these documents would have ended up being used to create false identities, or help people work, claim benefits or stay illegally in the UK.’
It comes as the UK Border Agency continues a campaign to tackle illegal immigration and organised crime.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
‘The UK Border Agency has undertaken two major enforcement campaigns to crack down on immigration crime, detaining, prosecuting and removing people and gangs who have been abusing the system through sham marriages, illegal working, people smuggling and document fraud.
‘We are making more use of new technology both at the border and inland to enable officers to focus their efforts on people trying to cheat the system.’
Jailing Bohat, the Judge HH Hillen said he hoped the sentence would be a deterrent to people taking advantage of those in vulnerable positions and who sought to benefit from doing so.
The UK Border Agency will take action to deport Bohat at the end of his jail term.
Another man, Mohammed Hassani, an Algerian national who was arrested at the café on 30 July 2008, was convicted of possession of counterfeit documents and was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment. He has since been deported.
Anyone with possible information about immigration crime should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime where anonymity can be assured say the UK Border Agency. Source: UK Border Agency
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