An unlicensed taxi driver was ordered to pay £918 in fines and legal costs after being prosecuted by the St Albans City and District Council.
Mohammed Tufayel Ahmed, who had been previously licensed by the Council as a taxi driver in 2013, failed to renew his licence when it expired in August of last year, despite receiving multiple reminder letters.
The Council's attention was drawn to Ahmed's illegal activities in January of this year when a complaint was received about his touting for business near a taxi rank and picking up a paying customer. To investigate the matter, the Council launched a thorough investigation and reviewed CCTV footage that seemed to capture the incident, involving a Mercedes car owned by Ahmed.
Daniel Pattenden, the Council's Environmental Health Manager, provided a witness statement to the St Albans Magistrates' Court. In his statement, Pattenden revealed that he had asked Ahmed to attend an interview to discuss the incident. During the questioning, Ahmed admitted to his wrongdoing and sent an email apologising for his conduct.
During the court hearing, Ahmed pleaded guilty to charges of plying for hire and driving a paying passenger without a private hire licence. As a result, he was fined £80 for plying for hire and an additional £40 for driving without a licence. In addition to the fines, Ahmed was also ordered by the magistrates to pay a victim surcharge of £48 and contribute £750 towards the Council's costs.
The magistrates presiding over the case emphasised the seriousness of Ahmed's actions and highlighted the importance of proper licensing and adherence to regulations in the taxi industry.
The court hearing occurred on Wednesday 30 August, where Ahmed was given the fines and ordered to pay the costs.
Councillor Chris White, Lead Councillor for Taxi Licensing, said: “This was a successful prosecution brought by our licensing team.
“It shows that we will take vigorous action against any individual or organisation that breaches the licensing regulations we are responsible for.
“The regulations are there to protect our residents and ensure that high standards are met. Our licensed taxi drivers, for example, must show they are properly qualified, insured, free of criminal convictions and do not pose a risk to the public.
“We cannot allow unlicensed drivers to pick up paying customers and this prosecution is a warning to anyone thinking of doing that.”