Northern Ireland news

'Fake candidates' caught cheating in driver theory tests in Northern Ireland

On four occasions the incidents were reported to the PSNI, and one of the test candidates was prosecuted
Brendan Hughes

LEARNER drivers have been caught cheating in theory tests by attempting to have others sit the exam for them.

Test centres in Northern Ireland have dealt with nine claims of 'candidate impersonation' in the past four years, records obtained by The Irish News reveal.

On three occasions the incidents were reported to the PSNI, and one of the test candidates was prosecuted.

Learner drivers have also tried to cheat by using bluetooth devices, notes written on their hands and arms – and by asking their interpreter for advice.

A total of 19 reports of cheating in the driving theory test were recorded from 2015 to November 2018, according to a Freedom of Information response from the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

No issues were found in two of the reports of suspected candidate impersonation, while four led to no further investigation due to a lack of evidence.

In 2016, a case of candidate impersonation in Newry was reported to the PSNI but there was no prosecution because the case was statute barred.

But in the same year a case of candidate impersonation in Belfast was reported to police and a candidate was prosecuted.

In 2017 a warning marker was placed on a candidate's record and the matter was referred to police following an incident of candidate impersonation. The PSNI spoke to the candidate but no further action was taken, according to DVA records.

Learner drivers were found with writing on their hands and arms on six occasions.

In one incident in 2015, an interpreter reported that a candidate in Belfast had requested assistance. The issue was not pursued.

There were also three incidents recorded relating to a candidate found using a bluetooth device.

The DVA said there were no records of any incidents of alleged cheating during the practical driving test between 2015 and November 2018.

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