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Taxpayer foots £200k bill for jailed illegal immigrant's 14-year stay

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An illegal immigrant, whose 14-year stay in the UK has run up an estimated cost of over £200,000 to the taxpayer, has been jailed.

Jamaican national Duhane Hall arrived in the UK on September 22, 2002 after being granted leave to enter on a visa that allowed him to stay until March 2003 on the condition that he could not be employed or try and gain access to public funds.

However, he has remained in the UK ever since, repeatedly making applications for leave to remain status which were then rejected, before making appeals that were subsequently rejected.

In an application to Sandwell Council in March 2005, Hall handed in a forged letter stating to be from the Home Office claiming he had been given indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Hall pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation, using a false instrument and using fake identity documents at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Mr Mark Jackson, prosecuting, said: "The Audit Commission provide an estimate of the loss attributable to tenancy fraud, which is estimated at £18,000 per year.

"This can only be an estimate but that equates to a loss to the public purse for the duration of the defendants tenancy of £180,000.

"In support of his original application for social housing he submitted a letter dated November 10, 2003 purported to have been issued to him by the Home Office.

"That letter stated that the defendant had been given indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

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"That letter was a forgery and had he disclosed his true immigration status he would never have been given social housing."

Mr Jackson said that on top of the estimated £180,000 cost of tenancy fraud, Hall was also responsible for losses of £17,312 in housing benefits, £1,972 in council tax benefits and £7,622 in JobSeekers Allowance.

While applying for the benefits, Hall stated he had a right of abode in the UK when he didn't and also stated that he was British. He also used a forged UK passport to support the application.

Mr Peter Cook, defending, said: "These applications were made because he had no money to pay for a home and had no way of getting a job."

Sentencing Hall to three years imprisonment, Judge Nicholas Webb said: "You came to this country in 2002 and were supposed to leave in 2003 but you have been appealing your right to stay here ever since, and appealing every rejection that you have been given along the way.

"What that says about the system is not for this court to discuss but your plans showed some sense of sophistication."

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