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Private hire driver prosecuted for illegal trade

Archived press release

Date Published: 14/01/08

Aylesbury Vale District Council has successfully prosecuted a private hire driver who was found to have collected a passenger without a prior booking. Mr Abid Shah, of 13 Havelock Street, Aylesbury, pleaded guilty at Aylesbury Magistrates’ ...

Aylesbury Vale District Council has successfully prosecuted a private hire driver who was found to have collected a passenger without a prior booking.

Mr Abid Shah, of 13 Havelock Street, Aylesbury, pleaded guilty at Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court on 10 January to plying for hire and was fined £200. He was also ordered to pay £200 in costs and a ‘victim surcharge’ of £15, which goes towards support services for victims of crime and witnesses.

Local magistrates heard how Mr Shah, who is employed by Jet Taxis, had illegally picked up a customer from outside Lloyds Bank in Aylesbury town centre on 29 June 2007.

The passenger was an officer from the council’s licensing team, who was carrying out undercover test purchases to check that drivers were not plying for hire in contravention of their licences.

AVDC carries out regular overt and covert operations to check that hackney carriages and private hire vehicles are roadworthy and properly insured, that drivers are properly licensed, and that they have the correct plates and door signs displayed.

Any driver found not to be complying with the conditions of their licence, for example private hire drivers who pick up passengers who have not booked in advance, will risk being prosecuted and face the possibility of having their licence suspended, or even revoked.

Hackney carriages (known as taxis) and private hire vehicles (often referred to as mini-cabs) are licensed by the district council. Under the terms of the licence, only white-plated taxis can be hailed in the streets within Aylesbury’s boundaries and sit on taxi ranks. Red-plated hackney carriages operate as taxis outside of Aylesbury but can only pick up passengers in the town if they have been pre-booked.

Private hire vehicles display a yellow licence plate on the rear of the vehicle and must be pre-booked through a licensed operator. Passengers can put themselves at risk by flagging down private hire cars which have not been pre-booked as the vehicle’s insurance cover will not be valid.

Councillor Timothy Mills, Vice Chairman of the Licensing Committee, said: “ Private hire drivers who tout for business or allow themselves to be flagged down in the street are breaking the law. This prosecution should send out a clear warning that if they break the law they face prosecution and a criminal conviction.”

 

Contact information

Telephone:

01296 585099

Email:

communications@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk