Fisherman convicted of identity fraud caught on Facebook
Mon 10 Oct 2016
A fisherman in Somerset, UK has been prosecuted for not carrying a rod licence and taking on a friend’s identity, after he was tracked down on Facebook by an Environment Agency official.
According to a government release, the fraudster Thomas Dalziel had persuaded good friend Lee Brand to cover for him after he was found without a rod licence in May 2014. Dalziel later purchased a day licence from a local post office in Brand’s name but gave his own date of birth.
At the scene of the incident, the local Environment Agency noted a parked BMW car. When confirming the number plate and owner details, the results came up with Dalziel’s name. Checking the fisherman’s profile on Facebook was enough to corroborate the culprit’s identity.
Claiming he had been a victim of mistaken identity and refusing to pay the fine, Brand was interviewed by officials and admitted that he knew Dalziel had purchased a licence in his name. Brand claimed to have later asked his friend to own up to the offence, but Dalziel had refused to give in to the police. Brand had also lied arguing that the fishing tackle had been stolen from his shed, knowing full well that Dalziel was borrowing it.
‘This was a deliberate attempt to evade justice by an angler assuming a false identity. It was made possible through the participation of a second person who knowingly took part in the deception,’ said Environment Agency official Chris Povey.
Brand was given a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £600 having pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.
As for Dalziel, authorities were not able to track him down until he handed himself over to Bristol police on 3rd October, 2016. Bristol magistrates have since ordered that he pays £600 and was given a 12-month conditional discharge after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.