Panorama: fake passports for 20 EU countries for sale allowing entry to UK
Fake EU passports are now so easy to obtain that BBC Panorama reporter Shahida
Tulaganova managed to purchase fake passports for 20 different EU countries. She
entered the UK twice using fake passports.
The dealers Shahida met were all confident that the passports they were offering
would get her into Britain.
When she asked one dealer if his other clients have
crossed the border successfully he said: "There were no failures."
Indeed he was
so sure that his passport would work that he did not want to be paid until Shahida
successfully entered Britain.
Another dealer even offered an insurance policy on
his passport: "It costs more but it's guaranteed. If by bad luck you do get caught
your next passport is on us."
A fake EU passport has a high value. Not only does it give the holder free access
to Britain, it also allows the holder to live and work in the UK indefinitely - and
to apply for benefits, bank accounts and free health care.
Panorama finds that the fake passport business is now so advanced that dealers offer
a range of fakes to suit all tastes.
Shahida was sold counterfeit copies of
passports that were delivered in 24 hours; stolen passports which had her photo
inserted; and even genuine passports that look-a-likes applied for using her photo.
It is particularly worrying that passport security is so lax in some EU countries
that people can apply for passports using a photograph of another person.
dealer told Shahida: "We find somebody who looks like you. They go to the passport
office and apply for a passport in their name. They don't even have to sign it."
It seems the dealers were right to be confident about their product. Despite the
fact the Government has introduced new measures to improve passport security and
strengthen Britain's borders, Shahida managed to enter Britain twice using her fake
On the first occasion every page of her fake Latvian passport was scrutinised by
passport control and she was interviewed by a police officer but they still failed
to notice that her passport was a fake.
On her second attempt Shahida travelled on
Eurostar using a stolen Estonian passport.
The Head of Eurostar recently
claimed his company has airline standards of security but Shahida's stolen passport
Panorama: My Fake Passports And Me, Monday 4 December 2006, 9pm, BBC One