Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

The courts have been busy at the start of the year with an entire gang going to prison for smuggling 2.6million cigarettes into Nottingham inside 46 washing machines. Their lorry had false plates for parts of its journey across Europe as they tried to dodge GBP756,422 of UK taxes, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

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Latest news from Nottingham’s courts

In a separate case, heard at Warwick Crown Court, a fraudster was locked up for 28 months for trying to sit other people’s driving theory tests – after serving two previous jail terms for similar crimes. Swallaxadin Abdul Bashir, 42, attempted to sit tests while impersonating applicants at 12 locations across England between October 2018 to August 2019, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said.

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This week in court

  1. Jail for man who took other people’s driving theory tests

    A fraudster was locked up for 28 months for trying to sit other people’s driving theory tests – after serving two previous jail terms for similar crimes.

    Swallaxadin Abdul Bashir, 42, attempted to sit tests while impersonating applicants at 12 locations across England between October 2018 to August 2019, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said. Bashir, from Coventry, was jailed at Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday (January 8) after committing the offences in Nottingham, Scunthorpe, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Salisbury, York, St Helens, Cambridge, Southport and Manchester. Theory centre staff reported the incidents to the DVSA’s fraud investigation team after having suspicions that he was impersonating the genuine candidates whilst taking the tests.

    Staff rejected all pass results from the tests that he carried out, and in some cases he was turned away before taking the test, the DVSA said. Bashir pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier court hearing, which was told that investigators found evidence of people booking tests with him on his mobile phone. Bashir was previously jailed for 18 months in 2017 and two years in July 2016, and was handed a six-month suspended sentence in February 2014 for similar offences.

  2. Drunk attacker spared jail after fracturing colleague’s jaw

    Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

    Nottingham Crown Court

    A drunk attacker must pay GBP750 compensation for smashing a workmate’s jaw. Lift engineer Ricky Wilding appeared at Nottingham Crown Court where he was spared jail for causing GBH. The court heard that trouble broke out when a firm was out celebrating on December 15, 2018, first at Wetherspoon’s and then at the Bierkeller, Nottingham.

    Outside the second bar, a man was attacked after being accused of touching a woman. He ended up with a fractured jaw, a broken nose and was knocked out. Others were involved but Wilding was the only one charged.

    The 32-year-old, of Colston Road, Bulwell, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm. He was given an 18-month prison term, suspended for two years.

  3. Drink driver jailed

    Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

    Nottingham Magistrates’ Court A drink driver must serve ten weeks in jail after clocking up his fourth offence – when caught three times over the limit.

    City magistrates also imposed a 52-month roads ban on Dana Alani. The court heard that he was handed a one-year ban and a conditional discharge for driving with excess alcohol in his breath in 2009. Two years later, he was convicted of failing to give a sample for alcohol analysis and was handed a suspended prison sentence.

    Sanjay Jerath, prosecuting, told the court: “In 2015, he was back before the court for driving while disqualified and other offences, including excess alcohol. He received 26 weeks’ custody and was banned from driving for three years.” He said the latest offence was detected when Alani, 31, was stopped while driving a Vauxhall Astra on April 11 last year.

    He failed a roadside test and was arrested. A second test showed 108 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, 73 over the legal limit. A government surcharge of GBP122 and GBP85 prosecution costs must be paid by Alani, of Sturton Street, Hyson Green.

    He was given a 20-week prison term – but will serve half before being freed and put on probation.

  4. Man was ‘street dealing’ prescription drugs online

    Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

    Customers paid for prescription drugs by cryptocurrency Bitcoin after one found the seller on a “dark web” website, a court heard. The probe began after police went to Stephen Henry-Palmer’s home address and recovered “a considerable quantity of Class C drugs”, explained Jon Fountain, porsecuting. “Many thousands of drugs he has pleaded guilty to; the past supply of 12,300 Zanex (Alprazolam) and 9,000 tablets of Diazepam”.

    Zanex is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Henry-Palmer, 30, of Broad Gores North, Clarborough, Retford, was interviewed by police and claimed he was buying them for his own use. But their inquiries led them to discover he was receiving prescribed medication but not Zanex or Diazepam.

    They found receipts, images of receipts, packages and e-mails consistent with him being involved in supplying both drugs. Henry-Palmer, who has no relevant previous convictions, pleaded guilty to supplying Diazepam and Zanex, and possessing with intent to supply Diazepam and Zanex. Judge James Sampson gave him a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he said it was clear he had “profound medical issues both physical and mental”.

    But he stressed “that didn’t deter you in engaging in sophisticated dealing in Class C drugs”. “What is particularly serious about this is you were effectively dispensing drugs – which are ordinarily controlled and available on a prescription by a doctor,” he said. “What saves you today is your medical position and your genuine ill health.

    It will not save you again”.

  5. Drug user clocks up 135th crime

    Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

    A drug user managed to go straight for two years but then clocked up his 135th crime. John Woodcock, 38, reached the total by twice stealing from the Co-op in the Bridgeway Centre, in The Meadows, a court heard. He admitted two counts of theft.

    Fines totalling GBP160 with GBP82 costs were ordered from Woodcock, who is currently using a Mansfield Road church as a night shelter. Sanjay Jerath, prosecuting, told the court that Woodcock’s record contained 133 offences, including 48 of dishonesty. But the last was dated 2017.

  6. Driver fell asleep on hard shoulder of the M1

    Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

    The M1, near Trowell

    A motorway driver failed an alcohol test after he fell asleep in a car parked on the hard shoulder, city magistrates heard. A small amount of cannabis was also found in the car used by Vishal Rathod, 28, when checked on the M1, near Trowell. It led to a 14-month driving ban and GBP333 fine for Royal Mail human resources worker Rathod, of Wavertree Drive, Leicester.

    He pleaded guilty to driving with 44 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, nine over the legal limit. Daniel Pietryka, prosecuting, told Nottingham Magistrates’ Court that police officers were called to a Ford Mondeo which was parked on the hard shoulder at 4.20am between junctions 25 and 26. “The driver was asleep in the driver’s seat.

    The engine was running,” said Mr Pietryka. When interviewed, Rathod said that he had been working in Sheffield, went out later and had “two pints of beer” before leaving the city shortly after midnight. Rathod must pay GBP85 prosecution costs and GBP33 government tax.

  7. GBP550 bill for man who cracked window at Revolution

    Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

    Revolution in Forman Street

    A man must pay GBP550 for cracking a bar window after arguing with his wife. Max Bedford, 29, of Dunbar Close, Long Eaton, was also ordered to pay GBP85 prosecution costs after he admitted criminal damage. Daniel Pietryka, prosecuting, said the incident happened early in the morning at the Revolution bar on Forman Street on November 18, 2018.

    A door window was cracked.

  8. Polish gang jailed

    A Polish gang was locked up for smuggling 2.6million cigarettes into Nottingham inside 46 washing machines. Their lorry had false plates for parts of its journey across Europe as they tried to dodge GBP756, 422 of UK taxes, a court heard. And fake papers were used to rent a warehouse on the Trent South Industrial Estate where the fraud was halted on June 28 last year.

    Inland Revenue officers raided the premises as the cigarettes were being taken from the washing machines and being put in boxes, Nottingham Crown Court heard. Judge Steven Coupland told the five offenders: “This was smuggling on an industrial scale. “False number plates were used to conceal the identity of the lorry.

    False contracts of employment were used as cover for what was going on.” Company owner Rafal Szczepanik, 42, was jailed for three years 11 months. He denied conspiring to evade duty but was found guilty after a trial.

    Mark Cotter QC, defending, told the court: “There is no evidence that he took a leading role.” And he said there were texts which were “derogatory” to Szczepanik, whose address was given as Leeway Road, Southwell. This showed there were people senior to him in the operation, added Mr Cotter.

    The other four men all pleaded guilty and had no fixed addresses in the UK. Daniel Zajczek, 44, described as “his right hand man” was sent to prison for three years four months. Justin Wigoder, mitigating, said that Zajczek began studying English while in prison awaiting sentence.

    Staff said he was “always courteous and respectful.” Lorry driver Marek Guziewicz, 33, was given two years five months. His trailer unit was confiscated.

    Nicola Hornby, mitigating, said the loss of the unit would hamper his work prospects when released. “He was regularly crossing the border and this is something brought about by his personal circumstances,” she added. A two-year ten-month term was imposed on Matievsz Blajer, 27.

    He was represented by Steve Ramsell who said: “He was doing what he was told to do.” Dawid Pietluch, 22, was given a prison term of two years four months. James Beck, mitigating, said that Pietluch had been taking a degree in physical education in Poland, adding: “He was seduced by others to come to this country.”

    Gareth Weetman, prosecuting, told the court that Szczepanik was “the organiser and director” while Zajczek was “his right hand man.” The judge ordered the confiscation of the cigarettes, a fork lift truck and the hollowed out washing machines. The cigarettes were two brands which are illegal in the UK, 2,662,240 Minsk cigarettes and 8,460 carrying the Pect name.

    The hearing was told that another man has not been traced. He is thought to be overseas.

  9. Arsonist jailed

    Meet 13 of the criminals Nottingham's courts dealt with this week

    A man has been jailed after he deliberately started a fire at his ex-partner’s home before going on a robbery spree across Newark. On July 23 last year, Christopher Webster, pictured, of Victoria Terrace in Newark, set fire to his ex-partner’s home at around midday and made a number of malicious calls to her and her family.

    When he left the property, the 30-year-old made his way to Churchill Road, Newark, where he threatened a woman and her daughter with a knife before stealing her car. Webster then drove the car to a shop in Hawton Road and took a bottle of wine without paying. A few hours later, on the same day, he travelled to Humberside and was arrested following a police chase.

    Appearing at Grimsby Crown Court on Tuesday, January 7, he pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life, two counts of robbery, dangerous driving and malicious communications.

    He was jailed for ten years.

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