A DRIVING instructor has been jailed for selling licences to unqualified drivers.

Mohammed Zahid, 49, charged learner drivers for other people to sit their tests and sold them the fraudulent licences for up to £1,000 each.

Zahid, of Egerton Road South, Chorlton, was jailed for 10 months and ordered to pay £1,700 under the Proceeds of Crime Act at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, having earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud.

Six others were also sentenced for their part in the scam.

Saquib Gul, 25, of Manchester Road, Tyldesley; Irshad Hussain, 33, of Chamber Road, Oldham; Mohammed Zameer, 27, of Willows Lane, Accrington and Asif Butt, 33, of no fixed address, all admitted obtaining property by deception.

Each received a three-month jail sentence suspended for two years, a two-month-long curfew and a 12-month driving ban.

Mohammed Munir Choudhary, 34, of Birmingham, also pleaded guilty and was given a three-month jail sentence suspended for two years, 80 hours’ unpaid work and a year’s driving ban.

Mohammed Akhtar, 34, of Longden Road, Longsight, denied the charge but was jailed for four months and disqualified from driving for 18 months following a trial.

The charges relate to obtaining test certificates and licences.

Two men, both alleged to have sat tests, are still wanted by police – Muhammed Nadeem, 35, and Sajid Shah, 28, were arrested but absconded.

The gang were caught after a pattern of suspected impersonations began to emerge at driving test centres across the country in March, 2005.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Darren Grafton from Oldham CID said: “This blatant abuse of the Driving Standards Agency system could have had serious implications for road users.

Having unqualified people on the roads puts other road users at risk. They would never have been able to prove that they could drive to safe and legal standards and their inability to do this could have cost lives.

“I am delighted with the sentences given and it should act as a very strong warning to anyone who tries to abuse the system.”