False passport woman jailed

A ZIMBABWEAN woman was caught with a fake passport in a Stevenage bank. Tsitsi Zvimba, 49, had opened an account at HSBC in the town centre in July last year, Luton Crown Court heard today (Tuesday). But she lost her job as a carer at a residential home l

A ZIMBABWEAN woman was caught with a fake passport in a Stevenage bank.

Tsitsi Zvimba, 49, had opened an account at HSBC in the town centre in July last year, Luton Crown Court heard today (Tuesday).

But she lost her job as a carer at a residential home last September when her employers discovered that she was an overstayer in the country.

Prosecutor Heather Shimmen said the bank then closed her account when problems arose with direct debits.

Zvimba went to the branch to withdraw her funds and produced the fake Zimbabwean passport as proof of identity. It was checked through a reading machine at the branch and was seen to be a fake.

She was arrested and told the police she had been in the UK for five years.

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Zvimba, of Woburn Close, Stevenage, sobbed in the dock when she pleaded guilty to possessing a false identity document. The court was told immigration officers had served deportation papers on her.

Defence barrister Zoe Van Den Bosch said Zvimba had come to this country on a six-month visa, but had overstayed because she was an opponent of the Mugabe regime. She said: "She escaped a deeply oppressive regime. She is applying for asylum."

Judge Michael Kay QC jailed Zvimba for six months, saying: "These offences are depressingly familiar.