A Yeovil MOT tester who issued 55 MOT certificates during lockdown without ever testing the vehicles has been sentenced, Somerset Live reports.
Thomas Drayton cheated his employers and the furlough scheme while also potentially putting drivers at risk, Taunton Crown Court was told.
Judge Paul Cook said: “This all came about during the course of early last year when the country went into its first lockdown.
“At the time you were employed at a nominated test and MOT centre and you were authorised to conduct MOT tests and certification to be in a roadworthy condition as required by legislation.
“Between March and June last year you claimed to have tested 55 vehicles and issued MOTs.
“The fact is no tests were conducted.”
Drayton committed the offences without the knowledge of his employer by gaining access to the premises and the MOT testing system to issue fraudulent certificates.
The court was told he was acting on the instructions of others.
When police got involved he admitted what he had done and cooperated with the investigation.
Judge Cook said: “This wasn’t simply a case of fraudulent activity, it was fraudulent activity placing the lives of people potentially at risk.”
“Your motivation was not greed but due to the fact you were concerned about the financial affairs of your family.
“You started doing it and it became difficult to extricate yourself from the enterprise.
“The effect of what you have done is to cheat the state by earning money while subject to furlough and government interventions.
“Second, cheating your employers and using a system in place in order to issue certification and cheat customers, potentially putting the lives of others at risk. You used your position of tester in order to do so.
“Because of what you did you undermine public confidence in the MOT testing process.”
He said the defendant had shown genuine remorse and was assessed as a low risk of reoffending.
Drayton, of Cedar Grove, was jailed for 10 months but the sentence was suspended for two years. He was ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.
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