When Lancashire mum Amanda Craig began working at her children’s school, she never imagined she would be branded a criminal.
Amanda, 44, who lives in Walton Park, Preston, was appalled when the headteacher of the primary school which her own children attended, called her up to tell her her criminal record labelled her as a drug addicted alcoholic with a criminal record spanning almost two decades.
A shocked Amanda then discovered her identity had been mixed up by the then Criminal Records Bureau with someone who had the exact same name and date of birth as her.
Amanda explains: “I applied to the school as a catering assistant and was also volunteering in the classroom as I was doing a teaching assistant course.
“I had to get what was then a CRB check - now called a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check - and you can imagine my shock when the headteacher received my criminal record.“I was given a list of crimes I had supposedly committed and they included things like drug-dealing and assaulting police officers.
“When I rang up the bureau to tell them there had been a mistake, they were not apologetic at all.
“They had mixed up my identity with someone who had the same name, middle name and date of birth as me.
“They were not prepared to clear my name and the onus was on me to prove I was not her.
“In the end, I had to have fingerprints, mouth swabs and DNA tests done and have my details scanned against unsolved crimes to prove I was not a criminal.
“They say innocent until proven guilty, but I was guilty until proven innocent.
“I had to get a solicitor and it took seven months to clear my name.
“It was all a horrific experience. It was more of a mistake than identity fraud as they had obviously created a file saying she was me and I was her.
“But the effects were the same as if I had my identity stolen.
“It must be terrible for people who have their identities stolen.
“I ended up with a wrong identity I didn’t want.”