A BRAZEN Bradford forger who offered fake Covid certificates to people travelling abroad during the height of the Covid crisis has been jailed for eight months.

Danyal Sajid was caught in a sting operation with an undercover reporter in Dubai after bragging about how much money he could make by selling negative coronavirus test certificates at £75 each.

Bradford Crown Court heard how Sajid, now 25, openly advertised fake negative test certificates, which would allow people to travel abroad during the pandemic when international travel was restricted, on Snapchat while living at Lindley Drive in Bradford.

Prosecutor Lauren Smith said Sajid’s openness drew the attention of an undercover reporter who, posing as a buyer, made contact with him and asked to buy a bogus certificate.

He was asked to pay £75 and was then emailed by Sajid with the counterfeit document.

Reporters arranged a meeting with Sajid, who, by then, was in Dubai in November 2020 at which he offered to provide 11 further fake certificates for £825.

However, the deal was not completed and the money was not paid. Instead, a news story naming Sajid appeared in a national newspaper the following month.

He was arrested in December 2020 and interviewed, during which he answered “no comment” to all questions.

Mitigating, barrister Glenn Parsons said his client was just 21 at the time he orchestrated the scam and he saw the distribution of forged Covid certificates as “some form of easy way out” of financial difficulties in which he’d found himself.

He said Sajid felt “profound regret” and that the incident had brought shame upon his family and his community. His mental health had also suffered.

Mr Parsons said Sajid had matured in the period since he was caught and had worked to turn his life around. He said he initially pleaded not guilty to the offence, which he said was a result of panic.

Sajid later pleaded guilty to one charge: that he intentionally encouraged or assisted in the commission of an offence of fraud, namely the supply of a false instrument, namely a Covid certificate.

Sajid appeared in the dock at Bradford Crown Court wearing a dark suit and clutching an overnight bag. He spoke only to confirm his name.

Sentencing Sajid to eight months in prison Mr Recorder Ian Mullarkey said he had taken note of positive character references as well as his age at the time of the offence and that he was of previous good character.

However, he said Sajid’s actions in offering such a large number of certificates for sale would have undermined a system that had been put in place to ensure travellers’ safety.