Police chief reveals how ‘The Fixer’ Syed Shahed Ahmed was brought to justice over speeding ticket scam
Syed Shahed Ahmed’s role as someone who made speeding tickets go away was ‘an open secret’ says the woman who led the investigation.
PC Fiona Wood was the officer who first spotted the pattern with tickets being returned with fake names linked to three addresses and led the team which investigated.
Ahmed, of Vale Street, Sunderland, admitted 16 counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice as well as money laundering in relation to the distribution of the funds he had accrued.
On Monday, he was jailed for three years and six months following a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court.
“Within the community, he was known as The Fixer – people would go to him when they had been sent a notice of prosecution,” she said.
“It was all word of mouth in the community – there were no text messages or anything. They knew where to find him, they knew who he was, they knew his address and they would speak personally about it.
“It appears to have been quite an open secret in the community.”
Word of mouth
PC Wood said Ahmed was well connected in the community, and people kept him informed of police activity even when he was away.
She said: “He was well known – when we went to execute the warrants, he was not even in the country, but within four hours he was ringing us asking why we were at his house.”
Ahmed would ‘means test’ his clients, she added, looking at what they did for a living before deciding what to charge them, from £60 to £300.
He would take the ticket and return it with a fake name as the declared driver and one of three addresses – his own home, a rented property in Sunderland, or the business he owned.
“As far as they were concerned, they got away with it. He put a false name and address on it and sent it back. The police would then send it to the false address,” said PC Wood.
“There were three addresses. There was his home address, there was an address that had been rented in Leamington Street and there was Zaan, a business that he used to own in Castellian Road.
“That is how it came to our attention – all of a sudden, these discrepancies jumped out.”
Police became suspicious
The issue first came to light in 2016, and it was the Leamington Street address that raised suspicion.
“There were two or three that came back from that address – it bore looking into closer,” said PC Wood.
“When police attended that address, it was empty.”
The property had been rented for a short time and no-one ever moved in and the keys were returned very shortly after they had been collected.
“It was rented in September and the keys were pushed through the door in November. The letters were just piling up”
The investigation has taken three years in total: “It has been three years of hard work, of looking at hundreds of documents, trying to track down many names and addresses and trying to link them all together,” said PC Wood.
“All these people could have had a speed awareness course or penalty points on their licence and a fine, which at the worst, would have affected their insurance.
“Instead they have now got a conviction for conspiracy which will affect every job and everything they do for life.
“The laws of the road are there to protect road users. They are not optional. They are not negotiable.”