Man jailed again for identity fraud - Luton

26/02/2016

An Iranian refugee evading persecution has been jailed for a second time for identity fraud.

Saeed Esfandyar panicked when he was searched at Luton airport, and two fake Danish passports were found. He tried to evade arrest by seizing the passports and tearing out the identity pages and eating them, later claiming voices had told him to do so. But he failed and a search of a house in Winchester Road, Bedford, where he had some belongings, unearthed two fake identity cards as well.

Esfandyar, aged 25, wept over a video link from prison, telling a Judge at Luton Crown Court: "I do not mean to do crime."

The refugee, who has worked hard to establish a windscreen repair business, pleaded guilty to four charges of possessing fake identity documents with intent. He was jailed for 21 months.

The court was told that in 2011 he had been sentenced to 16 months custody for a similar offence.

Daniel Siong, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said when Esfandyar was stopped on 14 November last year, he also had a receipt showing £2,300 had been paid into his bank account. But Alison Ginn, defending, said: "There is nothing sinister about this. The money was from his mother paid through another relative, and the passports were being kept if other family members were in trouble in Iran. He is suffering from depression, psychosis and post traumatic stress disorder as a result of being attacked with a knife. His bizarre actions at the airport were a consequence of his panic."

Judge Richard Foster said: "You were living in this country as a refugee because it was unsafe for you to live in your native Iran. I accept that fear is genuine. But it does not give you permission to break the law."

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