Judge awards Northumbria Police officer a commendation for 'excellent work' in bringing fraudster to justice
A determined police officer whose hard work helped put a unrepentant crook behind bars has been praised by her judge for her dedication to the case.
And it was Pc Fiona Wood, of Northumbria Police, who led the three-year investigation into Sunderland man Ahmed, who promised drivers caught speeding that he could make their points and fines disappear.
Known within his circles as “The Fixer”, Ahmed, 43, tested his clients’ means and charged anything from £50 to hundreds of pounds before using false details and a string of addresses across Sunderland to disguise his criminality.
Pc Wood, who has been with Northumbria Police for 12 years, grew suspicious after realising that seven notices of intended prosecution sat unanswered after being delivered to an address associated with Ahmed between October 2015 and June 2016.
Further inquiries revealed that the property sat vacant, with Ahmed seemingly uncontactable.
The fraudster, of Vale Street, Sunderland, admitted 16 counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice as well as money laundering in relation to the distribution of the funds he had accrued on Monday, November 25.
Fourteen defendants paid to use his service and they were also convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Thirteen drivers who paid him in order to escape their respective motoring convictions in 2015 and 2016 received suspended sentences and were ordered to carry out unpaid work, while another was handed a curfew.
He said: “It is apparent that it is only due to the dedication and inquisitiveness of Pc Wood whilst working in the ticketing office that these offences came to light at all.
“This necessarily involved the following up of numerous lines of inquiries and the tracing and interviewing of those who had availed themselves of the service he was offering.
“Such offences as these can significantly undermine the administration of justice and the work of Pc Wood has led to the conviction and sentence of these defendants, with Ahmed receiving a lengthy custodial sentence.”
Superintendent Helena Barron, of Northumbria Police’s Operations Department, also paid tribute to her officer’s outstanding work on the case.
She said: “This was a complex investigation which involved a large number of defendants and it required a huge amount of concentration, patience and investigative ability.
“Pc Wood should be very proud of this excellent work, and I would like to thank her for her unwavering professionalism and dedication while ensuring the defendants were rightly brought to justice."
The officer’s initial discoveries led to a significant investigation, which involved following an endless document trail, examining hundreds of hours of CCTV and simultaneous arrests carried out across the city in partnership with officers from the force's road policing unit Operation Dragoon.
And in court, Pc Wood told that Ahmed’s crimes were an “open secret” within the community – and those who needed his services knew where to find him through word of mouth.