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Beware of bogus cabbies using ‘fake props’ to appear legitimate warns police

Image credit: Exeter Police

Police have warned the public of people posing as taxi drivers using ‘fake props’ to make them look authentic.

In a recent public safety announcement, Exeter Police raised alarm over the increasing menace of individuals posing as taxi drivers, employing bogus enhancements to their vehicles to mimic legitimate taxis. As the weekend approaches—a peak time for taxi usage—the police have taken to social media to issue crucial guidance aimed at ensuring the safety of the public.

According to the authorities, all legitimate taxi services in the city, be they Hackney Carriages or private hires, must adhere to strict licensing regulations. These include the display of both internal and external plates that detail the vehicle’s registration number, an expiry date, and a specific code. Additionally, genuine drivers are required to possess up-to-date photo identification, which should be readily available to passengers.

One telling sign of a counterfeit taxi is the configuration of its doors. Official taxis will invariably be 5-door vehicles. A vehicle that requires passengers to fold over the passenger seat to access rear seating is not licensed and should be avoided. In such instances, passengers are urged to exit the vehicle and arrange transportation with a verified service.

The police have also recommended a practical safety measure: passengers should photograph the taxi—focusing on the registration number—and share this information with a trusted contact before departure. This simple act can significantly enhance passenger safety and is generally welcomed by licensed taxi drivers.

An Exeter Police spokesperson said via social media: “With the weekend coming up we thought we would post some helpful reminders to take in to consideration if you're going to be using a taxi. Unfortunately we're aware of people posing as taxi drivers and using fake props to make their vehicle appear like a legitimate taxi.”

They added: “If you have any concerns please leave the taxi immediately. Call 999 if you need to report a crime or suspicious activity.”


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