'He does not speak Greek': Illegal immigrant with false ID caught out by interpreter

PUBLISHED: 16:33 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:38 26 July 2019

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Two illegal immigrants have been jailed for eight months after being found in Norwich with false identity cards.

Police in the city stopped Besard Cufa on June 13 driving a Renault traffic van. His passenger was Armand Pitomena.

Both are Albanian citizens who had come to the UK illegally around two years ago, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Both admitted possession of an identity document with improper intention. Cufa, 27, also admitted driving without insurance or a licence.

Christopher Youell, prosecuting, told the court Cufa had a Greek identity document, and Pitomena a Slovenian one.

He said: "Mr Cufa fell at the first hurdle as far as deceiving the officer was concerned, because he was put on to a Greek interpreter, who said 'this man is not Greek, he does not speak Greek'.

"Being an alert policeman he reached the conclusion the defendant might not be Greek."

Pitomena's phone was examined and found to have images of different identity cards of varying European nationalities.

In interview the 28-year-old claimed he had been visiting friends in Doncaster, and Cufa "started to tell a fictional story about Admiral Insurance".

Omololu Thomas, mitigating for Cufa and Pitomena, said they came to the UK to "try to work" two years ago, and had been working in construction with cash in hand.

He said they bought the false documents for £100 each in London.

"Being foreigners in the UK they feel a need to carry ID," he said. "Their intention was not to undermine the immigration system."

Judge Andrew Shaw jailed each man for eight months.

"I do not know how you got through our immigrations controls but it is clear you must both have done so," he said.

"This was not a momentary offence, it has been continuing since you arrived in this country.

"You are both here illegally and you have both been working here illegally for two years."

Judge Shaw added the Home Office immigrations authorities would likely keep them in custody after they had served their sentence.

Both were ordered to pay £400 costs and forfeit the false identity cards.

Cufa's licence was endorsed for the driving offences, for which there was no separate penalty.

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