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A British-based website is offering good quality forged degree and A level certificates for just £165.

They include a medical degree from Oxford University, a BA from the University of Strathclyde and a complete set of GCSEs. The certificates arrived a few days after order, and included forged signatures, stamps and watermarks, according to The Guardian which uncovered the scam.

The man behind the site has been questioned by police but never successfully prosecuted. It is not against the law to make fake school exam certificates and it has proved too difficult and expensive to prosecute him for forging university certificates.

Barry Sheerman, chairman of the Commons education committee, told The Guardian the scam was "terrifying". He suspects a database of qualifications will be needed and will raise the matter with Education Minister Charles Clark.

Dr Peter West, secretary of the University of Strathclyde, was surprised at how real the degree certificate looked, but found nine small errors. He said: "It does look quite authentic. It is deeply offensive to us and all graduates who have worked for their degrees."

A spokesman for Oxford University said the integrity of academic qualifications should concern everyone, not just those from the institutions named. ®

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