South Scotland

Galashiels identity theft man David Watkins jailed

Selkirk Sheriff Court - Crown copyright image
Image caption Selkirk Sheriff Court heard Watkins had used his old friend's identity for 27 years

A man who stole a friend's identity for 27 years has been jailed for 10 months.

The actions of David Watkins, 47, of Galashiels, emerged when he appeared in court for drink driving, claiming he was David Brooks, a childhood friend.

The DVLA wrote to the real David Brooks for his driving licence but when he said he had no knowledge of the case an investigation was launched.

Watkins admitted four charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice through identity theft.

Selkirk Sheriff Court heard how he told his employers, the Inland Revenue, credit companies and even his partner that he was David Brooks.

He had started using his friend's name and date of birth after obtaining convictions in the 1980s for obtaining property by deception.

Defence solicitor Ross Dow said: "He has lived this outrageous lie for 27 years.

"After a while he felt it was easier adopt the name David Brooks.

"Even his partner thinks he is David Brooks due to the Data Protection Act."

Watkins pleaded guilty to four charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice through identity theft by lying to the police and the court by saying he was David Brooks and using his date of birth.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond said: "The security of identity is a matter of grave public concern.

"You appeared in this court and were disqualified from driving using a false name and date of birth.

"For public concern and public safety custody is the only appropriate sentence."

After the case Mr Brooks, who had travelled from his home in Bristol to attend court, said: "This has caused me a lot of problems.

"Some of the things he had been up to in my name that came out in court even I did not know about.

"I think it is a fair sentence."

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