A woman who attempted to get a UK driving licence by using a fake Latvian licence has avoided going to prison.
Inga Smalko will instead carry out 100 hours of unpaid work under a community payback order after being sentenced at Forfar Sheriff Court for the “highly unusual” offence.
The 28-year-old, of Drumachlie Park in Brechin, previously admitted attempting to obtain a UK licence between September 2011 and October last year by pretending to the DVLA at Swansea that a forged Latvian document was a genuine licence issued in that country, thereby attempting to gain the UK permit by fraud.
Depute fiscal Robbie Brown said the circumstances of the offence were “fairly simple” in terms of the application made, but a serious matter.
“The Latvian licence was checked, there was an apparent anomaly and thereafter it was subject to further checking, which showed that the licence referred to an entirely different person.”
The court heard that a European cooperation arrangement exists for the checking of licenses and the Smalko investigation was triggered when an “eagle-eyed” DVLA employee noticed the anomaly over the classes on the document.
“Had it not been for that, it might have got through,” added Mr Brown.
Smalko’s solicitor said that when the DVLA instructed police they interviewed her and she immediately advised them of the background circumstances.
The accused, who had an interpreter in the dock, was the subject of a detailed criminal justice work report that revealed that she had endured past tragedy in her life but now has stable family circumstances.
Smalko’s mother was also in court with her.
The solicitor also indicated that the investigation into the circumstances of the crime had revealed what she described as an “almost systematic corruption of licences” in the accused’s homeland.
The court heard that the forging of documents to obtain immigration status was a frequent occurrence, but the solicitor said the particular circumstances of the matter involving Ms Smalko were “unusual”.
Sheriff Pino Di Emidio told Smalko he was prepared to deal with the case by way of a community payback order.
The accused must complete the 100 hours of unpaid work within nine months.