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PHV driver faces 6-month driving ban and £4,500 in fines after plying-for-hire at Henley Regatta

A private hire driver must pay over £4,500 and was handed a 6-month driving ban after illegally plying-for-hire at Henley Regatta.

In a crackdown on illegal private hire activities, two drivers faced legal consequences following undercover operations at the annual Henley Regatta.

Mumtaz Ahmed Ismail, 55, received a significant fine exceeding £4,500, 14 points on his DVLA licence, and a six-month driving ban for two counts each of illegal plying for hire and driving without insurance.

This verdict followed his absence at a previous court hearing and was delivered on 15 December at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

Harish Surendralal, 63, faced similar charges for offences committed on 30 June 2023. He was ordered to pay £1,186 and received six points on his driving licence.

Both men were apprehended during test purchase operations by licensing officers. They had agreed to transport undercover officers to Reading without a prior booking, which invalidated their insurance.

These cases are part of a broader effort to curb unlawful private hire practices, with more pending prosecutions from the 2023 Henley Regatta. This follows a pattern of enforcement seen in the previous year, where several convictions were made for similar offences.

Cllr David Rouane, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Henley has repeatedly been targeted by drivers from outside the district attempting to operate illegally at the Regatta. These individuals put people’s safety at risk and take work away from those who play by the rules.  Our officers have been very successful in stopping those involved and we won’t hesitate to prosecute anyone who is caught in the act.”


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