(JollofNews) – A Gambian man who used a stolen identity card to claim benefits and get a job at a Formby hotel was jailed for 12 months. Mustapha Bayo, 33, pretended to be a Frenchman called Jean Djedje after arriving in England some seven years ago.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that he used a French identity card to get a National Insurance number and register for benefits in January 2008.
Bayo, of Squires Street, Edge Hill, then used the card when applying for a job at Formby Hall Golf Resort Hotel in April this year.
Derek Jones, prosecuting, said his offences came to light as a result of a tip-off from the hotel, where he was working as a kitchen porter.
Immigration officers working for the Home Office visited the business and saw that he was not the person in the photograph on the card.
They made enquiries with colleagues in France and discovered that it had been stolen from a French national.
The officers visited his home in Liverpool on September 8 and found engagement cards written to Bayo and his fiancée – a British national – in his real name.
However, the defendant still insisted that he was Mr Djedje and a Frenchman when he was interviewed.
Bayo, with short black hair and wearing a white t-shirt in the dock, later admitted three counts of possession of a false identity document.
The court heard that it was not known how he came into the country.
David Woods, defending, said that his client had claimed benefits, but had spent most of his time in England working.
He said: “In terms of a balance sheet he has probably paid in as much in taxes as he has ever had out from our society.”
Mr Woods said Bayo also worked as a volunteer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, going to people’s homes and advising on topics such as hazardous materials and fitting smoke alarms.
He said: “In general he has made himself a useful person and says this is the first crime he has committed in his life.”
Mr Woods added that his client would face “an uncertain future” upon his release from prison and may be deported, putting strain on his relationship of several years.
He said: “All parties accept that he has done wrong. He did initially mess about the authorities in terms of his identity and continued that in interview, but once he realised the game was up, if I can put it that way, he was remarkably frank.”
Judge David Aubrey, QC, said Bayo had “masqueraded” as somebody else and used the stolen identity card to obtain benefits and employment.
He said: “As to your uncertain future, that is not a matter for this court. It will be a matter for the authorities.”
Speaking after the case, Joseph Shirley, from Home Office Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations, said: “Document fraud is a serious offence, and we will arrest and put before the courts people who seek to cheat their way around the system.
“The Home Office has specialist and well-resourced criminal investigation teams who will continue to crack down on all forms of immigration crime.
“Those who try to abuse the system such as Mustapha Bayo will face prosecution and conviction.”