Deluge of fines for victim of cloned car plate

Altaf Sadique from Leeds with his Range Rover  which he thinks the numberplate has been cloned.
Altaf Sadique from Leeds with his Range Rover which he thinks the numberplate has been cloned.
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A BUSINESSMAN served with more than 30 parking fines and congestion charge tickets clocked up by another driver using his number plate claims he is powerless to stop the flood of cash demands.

Altaf Sadique says he has been left in a “ludicrous situation” where he is unable to get the fines cancelled because police will not investigate it as a crime.

The 46-year-old has even had his case raised in Parliament by Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland after being left powerless to stop a flood of fines from places he has not been to, including tickets for parking outside hotels in Plymouth and Swindon and the congestion charge in London.

Mr Sadique, from Adel in Leeds, claims that camera photographs show the fines have been issued to the same model of Range Rover as his wife Talat’s – but hers is black and the offending vehicle is white.

He says police are not treating the case seriously and has now appointed a barrister in an attempt to force them to give him a crime number so the fines are no longer hanging over him.

“It’s not recognised as something that serious, but I think it should be,” he said. “At one level it’s highly inconvenient for me to know somebody is misusing your identity in that way.

“But imagine – they could run someone over, be involved with something with comeback for you, and to prove it wasn’t you becomes more complex.”

Mr Sadique, director of Leeds IT company Gane Data, said his problems began in July when the first fine arrived. Since then he has received up to 35 more including about 15 congestion charge tickets and the remainder in parking fines from around the country.

He has spoken to West Yorkshire Police, London’s Metropolitan force and others around the country where the fines have been issued, but has so far been refused permission to have it recorded as a crime, so he has been unable to disprove the fines, which he is refusing to pay.

When he contacted the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in October officials said the other vehicle could be “circulating under false number plates” but said there was nothing more they could do and advised him to contact his local force, saying they would have “procedures in place to deal with motorists in this situation”.

But West Yorkshire Police says it cannot investigate because none of the offences are in its force area. They say they have tried to help by putting a marker on the police national computer system so if the offending vehicle is spotted it can be stopped by officers from any force around the country.

Now Mr Sadique is seeking to force the Metropolitan Police to meet him, claiming it is his right to be able to report a crime.

He believes a targets culture is partly to blame for the response thus far, because forces do not want to accept a crime which they are unlikely to solve.

“I’m quite fortunate – I’m a businessman and reasonably well off and have got staff and lawyers who can assist with all this,” he said. If this was a single mum on her own and she had other problems and had a flood of this stuff coming through the door imagine the impact it has.”

Mr Mulholland said: “As it stands there is clearly a complete lack of police co-operation across police forces to prevent situations, like the one Mr Sadique finds himself in, occurring.

“It is concerning that despite having raised the issue with the police on several occasions, Mr Sadique continues to receive fines for other people’s parking offences, from other counties, as a result of his number plate being cloned, a crime that the police should be doing more to tackle given the distress it causes and the cost to the taxpayer.”

After the issue was raised with him in the Commons, Policing Minister Nick Herbert said: “I will certainly look into the matter and I am happy to discuss it further with him [Mr Mulholland]. Police co-operation in all matters is, of course, desirable.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “On the face of what he is outlining, he’s not the victim of any crime and no crime has happened in West Yorkshire. We’ve done as much as we can.”

The Metropolitan Police said the DVLA was responsible for number plates.