Corrupt bus staff at a Tottenham depot jailed for selling licences to unfit bus drivers

Posted on February 1, 2010 by admin No Comments

PLAYERS in a money-making scam that involved selling licences to unfit bus drivers at a Tottenham bus depot were jailed today.

For up to four years, the three First Group employees, based in Marsh Lane, Northumberland Park, and their mechanic friend, put bus passengers and other motorists at risk by handing out 2711 of the bogus documents to drivers who were unable to pass the test, in exchange for up to £1,500.

The scam made the fraudsters at least £200,000 which was divided between them, Wood Green Crown Court heard.

Many of the drivers spoke little or no English, although Judge Francis Sheridan, sentencing, made it clear that none were illegal immigrants or asylum seekers.

Former chief bus examiner Dennis Bodimeade, 54, of Maldon, Essex, was jailed for 32 months for his leading role in the conspiracy.

The court learned that when trainee drivers who could not speak read English were confused about the questions, Bodimeade would be on hand to explain the question to them and give them the answers.

Putting people who could not read English road signs in charge of driving public transport was a “menace to the roads”, the judge said.

Judge Sheridan said: “There’s no doubt that Bodimeade was the driving force and instigator.

“He had a Newton Hearing and he lied his head off to minimise the gain to himself wherever he could. And even he has become embarrassed by the extent of his lies he had given.

“He was the boss. There is no doubt about it. He is in a league of his own as far as culpability is concerned.”

Recruitment manager Lesley Ramsey, 65, of Hornchurch, Essex, who retired in 2007, was jailed for 14 months and father-of-three Muhammed Hashim, 37, of Ilford, was jailed for 18 months. The mechanic, a friend of Bodimeade and Ramsey, was responsible for introducing between 30 and 40 of his family and friends to the scam.

“Mr Hashim was third in rank. He was a recruiter. He brought between £45,000 and £60,000 of business. It was an important role and it was done for financial gain”, Judge Sheridan said.

Of Mr Ramsey, who had been on a £40,000 a year salary, the judge was more lenient after taking mitigating circumstances into account and accepted his defence that he was “too weak to withstand” a dominating character like Bodimeade.

Bus instructor John Dinning, 58, from Wickford, received a two-year suspended sentence after Judge Sheridan found he had played a minor role and had not profited.

“I believe you were leaned on”, he added.

Judge Sheridan said he “took no pleasure” in sentencing men who had, until this case, been hardworking men of good character.

“I do not include Bodimeade in that remark”, he added sternly.

All three must serve at least half of their sentence before they are eligible for parole.

The defendants were given credit for “saving the public purse” by pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct by “improperly testing and passing Passenger Carrying Vehicle test candidates” in December 2009.

Bodimeade and Ramsey also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud at the same hearing.

The scam was rumbled by an independent investigator who was concerned about the number of bus drivers from Wood Green were passing their theory test in double the time it should have taken.

After being forced to do retests, they were found “not up to competence”, Judge Sheridan said.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.