By Emma Stone, coventrytelegraph.net
AN ETHIOPIAN ASYLUM SEEKER who used a forged document to get a job in a Coventry crisp factory has been jailed for nine months.
Alazar Gebrezgiabhetr, aged 24, of Tarquin Close, Willenhall, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing a false identity document with intent.
Prosecutor Louise Pierpoint said Gebrezgiabhetr entered the UK in February 2003 seeking asylum and was given a document which prohibited him from working.
But he applied for a job at the Walkers Crisps factory in Baginton, presenting a UK travel document in his name.
It purported to give him Home Office permission to gain employment in the UK, and he began work in July 2007.
He was arrested following a joint immigration and police operation last month.
Gebrezgiabhetr said he bought the forged document for £260 from a man called Daniel, to whom he then had to return it, but claimed he thought it was genuine.
Stephen Crouch, defending, said Gebrezgiabhetr was an Eritrean national who had suffered brutal beatings in Ethiopia, and had flown to Britain with the aid of an agent who purported to be a friend.
As soon as he had entered the country the man took his passport, leaving him with no form of identity.
With few Eritreans in the UK, there was no network to help him and he ended up begging on the streets.
The opportunity then arose to obtain the false document and thereby to get work – and he took it.
Mr Crouch said Gebrezgiabhetr and his wife, who are both devout Christians, married at St John the Baptist church in Willenhall, Coventry, early last year, and his wife is now pregnant with their second child.
Jailing him, Recorder David Pittaway told him: “I have taken into account that you have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and what has been said on your behalf.
“I have taken into account that you have a son and that your wife is pregnant and that in other respects you have endeavoured to be an honest, hardworking young man.”
He added: “I bear in mind that your wife has indefinite leave to remain and that although your first appeal against the refusal of asylum has been turned down, you have lodged a further appeal.”