Crooked mechanic handed out 'fake' MOT certificates to pals without testing vehicles
A MECHANIC handed out a number of bogus MOT certificates to his friends and family without testing the vehicles.
Christopher Boote signed off paperwork for his brother, another relative and several friends during his time working at a Longton garage.
But an investigation at North Staffs Tyre and Battery discovered the mechanic had not inspected the vehicles.
It was later discovered one of the eight vehicles involved was almost 15 years old.
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Now Boote, of Whiteridge Road, Kidsgrove, has been sacked from his job after he was charged with eight counts of fraud by false representation.
And the 54-year-old was handed a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work after admitting the offences at Stafford Magistrates' Court.
He has also been disqualified from practising as an MOT tester for five years following an internal investigation.
The court heard how Boote started work at the Lightwood Road-based garage in March.
He was questioned in July after an audit raised suspicions about the certificates he had issued.
Boote was interviewed by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, the government body that supervises MOT testing, and admitted the fraud.
Kevin Good, prosecuting, said: " Boote confirmed he had created test records for the eight vehicles and stated that the eight vehicles did not attend the test centre."
Mr Good added that the owners of the vehicles – which were registered between 1998 and 2008 – included Boote's brother Darren.
"The other vehicles concerned were friends of his," he said.
Boote's solicitor Heather Drew said the father-of-two had not benefited financially from the fraud and was struggling to keep his family afloat after losing his job.
She said: "He very foolishly thought he was doing these people a favour. It can only be described as complete stupidity.
"What he does say is that he knows the people very well and knows the vehicles. He had checked them over and believed the vehicles were safe.
"He has lost his job. He is unlikely to ever become an MOT certificate tester again."
Mrs Drew said the court case had caused 'extreme distress' to Boote's family.
She added: "He is a previously law-abiding man.
"His daughter is due to be married next year and he was due to be paying towards that
"The family home is up for sale as they are struggling to pay the mortgage." John Britton, chairman of the magistrates' bench, was handed three character witnesses and a report from probation workers to consider before deciding on a sentence.
He gave Boote credit for his early guilty plea and told him: "You are a man of previous good character and you have lost that good character over these issues."
Neil Procter, managing director of North Staffs Tyre and Battery, said: "The only thing I can say is that as soon as we discovered something was going on he was fired.
"It isn't the sort of thing we want going on in our business.
"We always make sure everything is above board in our company and carry out routine audits."
Boote, who claims job-seeker's allowance, must also pay £500 in court costs.