Suspended jail sentence for man who forged solicitors’ letters

MOTs: Applications for testing status need solicitor’s letter

A man who used forged solicitors’ letters to secure MOT garage applications has received a suspended jail sentence for providing false information.

This was the first ever prosecution for providing fraudulent solicitors’ letters used as part of an MOT garage application.

Such letters are one of the supporting documents required to open or change an MOT test station. They provide proof that the applicant either owns the land or that they have a licence to occupy, a rental agreement or an enforceable lease with the landowner for the premises.

Thomas Richard Woods was convicted of three charges of providing counterfeit solicitors’ letters to help secure MOT testing station status.

A judge at Newport Crown Court gave him a custodial sentence of 18 months in respect of each offence to run concurrently, suspended for 18 months because of his previous good character and personal circumstances.

He was also ordered to carry out unpaid work of 220 hours, pay prosecution costs of £4,736 together with a victim surcharge of £149.

The judge found his actions caused harm to his employer, its clients, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – which conducted the investigation – and two firms of solicitors.

Mr Woods had undermined both the MOT system and confidence in solicitors, the judge said.

Mr Woods was a sales manager at Oakmain Ltd, a company specialising in the installation and service of garage equipment mainly for independent garages and MOT stations.

The company also completed the MOT station application form on behalf of customers.

The DVSA approves centres and testers to carry out MOT tests and monitors them to ensure they are carried out to the required standard.

Its director of enforcement, Marian Kitson, said: “Applications to be an MOT testing station are made in good faith by the applicants concerned.

“Motorists need to feel confident they can rely on MOT testing stations to carry out any necessary work and garages using professional services should expect the service to be legitimate.”

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