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ILLEGAL TAXI & PRIVATE HIRE TRADING: Licensing authorities issue Christmas travel warning to public

Image credit : Pixabay

Local authorities have begun to issue statements reminding the travelling public to have their wits about them when out partying over the Christmas period.

With party-goers out enjoying Christmas celebrations, they are being warned to take care when entering a taxi or private hire vehicle as some may not be licensed and may be driven by people posing as cabbies to make a quick buck or even worse.

Lancaster City Council issued the following statement: "Many people will be using taxis to get home after a night out with friends or an office party – but is the vehicle you’re getting in licensed?

"If it’s not then the person behind the wheel won’t have undergone the necessary stringent tests that all licensed taxi drivers and their vehicles have to go through."

The council went on to explain that all drivers that are licensed by Lancaster City Council have undergone a Disclosure and Barring Service check, medical examination, completed a licensed driver NVQ or equivalent and specialist driving test to ensure that they are 'fit and proper persons' to be transporting members of the public.

In addition, all vehicles licensed in Lancaster are inspected to ensure that they’re safe and roadworthy.

Councillor Colin Hartley, Chairman of the council's Licensing Committee, said: “Thankfully reports of illegal trading are rare but do happen on occasion so we’re asking people to stay safe and always double check that the taxi they are using is properly licensed.

“The council inspects all of the taxis it licences to ensure that they were roadworthy and free of defects.

“Unlicensed taxis haven’t undergone these checks and won’t be insured in the event of an accident.”

Wrexham Council have also issued a statement, saying: "As Christmas approaches lots of us are gearing up for Christmas nights out with friends and families so we’re reminding everyone of the need to check that any taxi you get into is properly licensed.

"There are some car owners out there who will take advantage of people at the end of their evening and take their money without being a properly licensed and legal taxi driver.

"If they’re not licensed they’re not insured which means it could be costly for you further down the line should anything happen.

"Many unlicensed taxi drivers may be driving in busy streets or hovering about busy night spots for unsuspecting individuals or groups so please always check to make sure you’re not becoming part of a scam."

As recently reported by TaxiPoint, a man from Manchester was jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of raping a 25-year-old woman in January 2018.

Ernesto Lusadisu, of Miles Platting, was found guilty at a trial at Manchester Crown Court in November to one count of rape and sexual assault by penetration.

He was sentenced to 12 years for rape and nine years for sexual assault by penetration to be served concurrently. The court heard how, in the early hours of the morning on 21 January 2018, Lusadisu approached the victim on Church Street in Manchester City Centre and told her he was a taxi driver.

Also in London, the Metropolitan Police are currently searching for a man they believe could have been involved in the sexual assault of a lady who entered his car thinking it was a private hire vehicle which she had pre-booked. It turned out that the man was not a licensed driver and went on to sexually assault her while she was trying the exit the vehicle.


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