DVLA officials spotted man's fake 3D-printed foreign licence when he tried to swap it for a UK one

Olegs Sablins, pictured outside Hull Crown Court
-Credit: (Image: Hull Live)

Eagle-eyed DVLA officials foiled a man's "intentional and deliberate" attempt to get a UK driving licence by fraud and they quickly spotted that a supposedly genuine foreign licence sent in by him had been created on a 3D printer.

He tried to talk his way out of trouble by pretending that the Latvian licence that he used in his bungled application was merely an old one but he got nowhere with the brazen attempt at deception, Hull Crown Court heard.

Olegs Sablins, 45, of Percy Street, Goole, admitted an offence involving possessing a counterfeit driving licence on November 3, 2022.


Helen Chapman, prosecuting, said that the DVLA received an application from Sablins to exchange a Latvian driving licence for a United Kingdom one. It included a purported Latvian licence.

As the application was being processed, a member of staff noticed discrepancies with the Latvian licence and forwarded it to the document examination team. Checks revealed that it was counterfeit and the police were alerted.

Sablins was arrested on August 3 last year. He was, at the time, driving a white van on the A15. He provided a Latvian identity card to police. He was asked if he had a driving licence and he told police: "I have sent it to the DVLA."

He had no driving licence because the fake one had been kept by the DVLA. He claimed during police interview that he did not know that the Latvian licence was counterfeit and that he had received it from the Latvian version of the DVLA.

He claimed that he had been banned from driving in Latvia between 2013 and 2018 and that the authorities had removed his licence from him. Sablins claimed that, when he later went to England, he found his old driving licence and he had been using that while driving in this country.

He claimed that he had no choice but to do so because he needed it to drive for his livelihood. The prosecution did not accept that he was simply using an old licence because, in fact, it was a counterfeit one.

Sablins had convictions for previous driving offences, including drink-driving and having no insurance in 2013 and driving while disqualified in 2015.

Oliver Shipley, mitigating, said that Sablins misplaced a genuine Latvian licence and replaced it with a fake one that was produced on a 3D printer. Sablins was working in a factory that produced bait for fishing.

"Custody would result in the loss of his employment," said Mr Shipley. "He has a stable income."

Judge Richard Woolfall told Sablins: "You knew or believed that the document was false. In fact, you didn't get as far as getting a United Kingdom driving licence because this copy was spotted.

"You were seeking to get yourself a false United Kingdom driving licence. This was intentional and deliberate. You did not actually get as far as obtaining one but that was your intention."

Sablins was given a six-month suspended prison sentence, 120 hours' unpaid work and 10 days' rehabilitation. He was ordered to pay £425 costs.