Man jailed for using stolen passport
Date published: 20 January 2014
AN illegal immigrant has been jailed for trying to use a passport stolen with thousands of others in Oldham years ago.
Muhammad Arshad (49), of Onchan Avenue, Oldham, admitted possessing identity documents with intent to commit fraud and was jailed for 12 months at Manchester Crown Court.
In 2008, 3,600 blank passports and 4,500 visas were stolen from a courier van parked outside a Chadderton shop. The documents were headed to RAF Northolt, to be sent to British embassies worldwide. A police operation has since recovered nearly 1,500 of the stolen visas and more than 2,000 passports.
On Boxing Day Arshad attempted to board a flight to Pakistan at Manchester Airport. An officer identified it as one of those stolen in 2008. Arshad was arrested and checks found he had successfully applied for a six-month visa - which expired in August 2008.
Det Sgt John Murdoch, said: “A significant number of passports and visas were stolen in 2008 and while many have been recovered, clearly some remain in circulation. This case shows that no matter how long they remain dormant, if someone is prepared to try them out, there are specialist officers with the skill to spot a fake, no matter how good.
“Arshad was an illegal immigrant attempting to fly to Pakistan who will automatically be deported upon the completion of his sentence and, while that means he will get to complete his journey, it will come at the expense of a 12-month prison sentence.”
In 2009, five men — including four from Oldham — were jailed for their involvement in the passport thefts.
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