A judge has criticised the way immigration cases are dealt with after jailing a failed asylum seeker who used a false passport to stay in Britain.
Bradford Crown Court heard how Vladimir Pugachev, who was born in Kazakhstan, used the Lithuanian passport to obtain a National Insurance number and was able to live and work locally for two years before being arrested.
Jailing him for ten months yesterday, Judge Roger Scott told 22-year-old Pugachev: "You masqueraded as a Lithuanian citizen. It will surprise nobody that it took two years for the authorities to determine it was a false passport, to trace you and come and get you."The judge also said it was "absolutely amazing" that Pugachev's father - who had already been deported once but immediately returned to Britain and was let in - was sitting in the public gallery watching his son being sentenced.
"That is the sort of world we live in with immigration issues," he added.
"People who come to this country lawfully are welcome, but people who do not come to this country lawfully or try to remain in this country by illegal means, are not welcome. I would like to have made a recommendation that you be deported, but I am unable to do that."
Paul Milner, prosecuting, said Pugachev entered the country legitimately about five or six years ago and, when his right to remain expired, he unsuccessfully went through asylum and appeal hearings.
In October 2004 he and his parents were ordered to attend Manchester Airport to be deported, but only the father turned up. He was duly deported, but later returned.
Six days later, Pugachev turned up at a Department of Work and Pensions office with a Lithuanian passport in another name but bearing his photograph. He was issued with a National Insurance number which allowed him to stay in Britain, work and claim benefits, although he did not make any benefit claims.
"Lithuania is an accession state and that gave him the right to remain in the UK, while as a Kazakhstani he had no such right," said Mr Milner.
After checks revealed the passport had been cancelled after it was stolen in Lithuania, officers visited a house in Spencer Street, Keighley, two years later and found Pugachev and his parents living there. The house had been rented in his mother's name and Pugachev had opened several bank accounts under the false name on his passport.
Last month, he appeared before Bingley magistrates under the same name on a criminal damage charge.
When interviewed by police, Pugachev said the passports had been obtained from a person in Bradford for £1,000.
Simon Myers, mitigating, said Pugachev's parents were pursuing an appeal for asylum and were not in detention. They had originally worked for the Kazakhstan Embassy and brought their son over as a teenager.
In the two years after the National Insurance number was obtained, Pugachev had worked and paid tax.