A man who used fake documents to secure work after becoming frustrated with delays in his Home Office application to stay in the country has appeared in court.

El Metali’s scam unfolded when he used his real name on his visa application after living in the UK for two decades.

The 43-year-old was arrested by border officials after he had been working for SK Foods for three months, Teesside Crown Court heard.

A judge told the defendant that it was ‘ironic’ that one of the punishments available to him was to impose unpaid work.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said the Algeria national had used the fake driving licence to secure work at the Middlesbrough factory and had been paid £2,300 before he was arrested.

Metali, of Croydon Road, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation between October 6, 2022, and January 1, 2023, and possession of a false identity between September 28, 2022, and June 15, 2023.

Callum McNicholas, mitigating, said his client had become frustrated at delays at the Home Office and had used the fake document to secure an ‘honest’ living to support himself.

He said: “He wanted to contribute but he achieved that in a dishonest way.”

SK FoodsSK Foods (Image: Google)

Judge Stephen Ashurst told Metali that he appreciated that there are significant delays in the processing of applications made to the Home Office.

“Had the company known the documents were false, you would not have been employed and you would not have received your wages over these three months,” he said.

Get more from The Northern Echo with a digital subscription. Get access for 4 months for just £4, or get 40% off an annual subscription with our latest offer. Click here.

“You have been in the UK for more than 20 years and your immigration status is still undecided.”

Metali was sentenced to six months in custody suspended for 18 months and ordered to attend 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

The judge added: “You are an industrious person but you were frustrated that you are not permitted to work.

“There is an irony that the Crown Court could impose on you unpaid work while you are not entitled to do so whilst your application is being considered by the Home Office.”