A Cranford driving instructor who fraudulently adapted his certificate after he realised he had forgotten to renew it has been fined.
Julian Mitchell, 48, of St Andrews Lane, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud facing him at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (October 5).
The court heard that Mitchell had been a fully qualified driving instructor since 1994 but ‘didn’t get round to renewing it’ in 2014 after his stepfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
He continued to give lessons but was removed from the DVSA’s approved register as he had not renewed his licence.
Mitchell applied for a new dual-control Peugeot but when asked for evidence of his qualifications he realised his was out of date.
Prosecuting, Mr Thomas said Mitchell then falsified the certificate and sent a picture before quickly renewing his online.
The DVSA then became aware that he was presenting candidates for their driving tests but he was no longer a registered instructor.
In total, 71 pupils had their tests while Mr Mitchell was not qualified.
One pupil had her test withdrawn on the day of the exam because of it.
Mitigating, Miss Dart said her client simply did not realise the seriousness of the situation and ‘put his head in the sand’.
She said: “Mr Mitchell feels ashamed of his actions.
“He knows he cannot teach again.
“He loved to do it and enjoyed it.”
Mitchell was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15.
Sentencing, chairman of the bench Roger Brown said: “We recognise your remorse for your actions but it is a very serious offence.
“This does not mean you are walking free, this is a form of punishment.”