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Crackdown on sale of licence points

Police are starting the first prosecutions against the illicit trade after a new law and new methods came in

POLICE are taking action for the first time against people selling driving licence points on the internet.

Although the activity was not legal before, it was not actively opposed as legal and practical mechanisms were lacking. This has now changed.

Police say they are prosecuting four people so far, from the Val-de-Marne and Seine-Saint-Denis. They risk a year’s prison and fines of €30,000.

“They are the first cases where we are taking action, but others will follow,” said police captain David Pousset, in charge of a new unit for prosecuting motoring-related crimes, set up to patrol the web for crimes like this.

French licences start with 12 points, which are progressively lost for driving offences, ultimately leading to loss of the licence after they are all lost.

Selling points is possible because usually when cars are flashed the driver’s face is not visible in the photograph. When he or she receives a notice of a fine and points to be lost, they then report that another person was at the wheel.

People “selling points” agree to provide their details, including their driving licence number and can make around €400 per point. The buyer reimburses the cost of the fine.

Points are touted on websites such as www.vente-points-permis.com (which gives no legal information as to where it is based or who runs it).

The sellers may have no need of their licences any more for various reasons, or just have a clean licence, with points “to spare”. Some are thought to be elderly.

While it has always been forbidden to make false declarations, it has previously been hard to identify offenses and to take action. However last year’s passing of the Loppsi 2 law on security matters has helped. It specifically forbids people to put out any public requests for payment for selling points.

Sellers usually provide email addresses for contact, and police are now able to make investigations to find out from internet service providers who they belong to, with name and postal address.

Photo:© iMAGINE - Fotolia.com

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