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A NEW LOW: London taxi driver handed Fixed Penalty Notice whilst volunteering for Poppy Cabs

We've all seen how councils seem to be constantly coming up with new ways to fine us and to make money from Joe Public, but now they seem to have stooped to a new low.

Our (LTDA) member, John, gave up his Sunday, as many other cabbies did, to be part of the fabulous Poppy Cabs on Rememberance Sunday. He volunteered his time willingly and like the other people involved, he welcomed the opportunity to do so. Little did he know that there were people lurking in the shadows waiting to penalise him unfairly.

Picture the scene, John was in a queue of cabs on the foot of Westminster Bridge. Whilst stretching his legs, he was approached by one of the veterans, who asked if he had a light for his cigarette. Our member of course gave him one from his own packet and the two of them chatted away for five minutes or so. The vet was full of

praise and appreciation for what the cabbies' were doing that day. He told John he would not have been making the trip, without the knowledge that cabs would be waiting at the station for him. After their chat, the two parted ways with a handshake.

Our member was then immediately approached by an employee of Lambeth Council, clutching a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), which he had already printed off.

He handed it to John. It was a fine of £100 for a cigarette butt put out on the floor. John was quite naturally taken aback.

He asked the man if he had any video evidence to back up his accusation and how he could confirm it was his cigarette butt, not someone else’s? He even offered to pick it up and place it in a bin. There is of course a lack of bins in that area because of concerns around terrorism, but after John pointed that out, he was met with a blank stare from the enforcement officer. He didn’t get a reply from this delightful chap to any of his questions, but he didn’t want to push it with him further, as it would have meant dragging the veteran into it.

John, quite rightly upset about this, came in to see me. He watched as my face went redder and redder, as he described the events. I immediately wrote to Lambeth Council, saying all the things you would imagine I would say and demanded that this Fixed Penalty be cancelled immediately. As I expected, we’ve received no answer to that letter as of the time of writing.

On hearing the member’s story, I spoke with Steve McNamara, who immediately tell him that the LTDA would cover the cost of this penalty.

I am still shocked that Lambeth Council are quite happy to send out their operatives to target cab drivers, on a day when they are fully aware that all involved are giving their time for free. As the late Bob Hoskins said in the film The Long Good Friday, is there no decency left in this disgusting world?


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