Private hire operator's licence hangs in the balance after unlicensed driver picked up fares 

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

A Wakefield private hire company owner, who used an unlicensed driver, has received a significant fine and been disqualified from driving for six months. At Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 12 February, Debra Tingey, 54, of Hemsworth, pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle with an unlicensed driver, employing an unlicensed driver and allowing the use of an unlicensed vehicle when no insurance was in force.

Keith Walker, 53, of Hemsworth was seen driving a private hire car in South Elmsall which was owned and operated by Debra Tingey of 001 Cars / Tingey Taxi’s when he did not have a private hire driver's licence.

Mr Walker was also seen again driving the same car having picked up passengers from Kinsley and driving them to South Kirby.

In court, magistrates gave Mrs Tingey credit for entering a guilty plea. She was fined £460 for the two Road Traffic Act offences and no insurance offences, and was handed a six month disqualification from driving. She was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £46 and legal costs of £685.65, totalling £1651.65. Mr Walker pleaded guilty by post and will be sentenced later in the month. ​Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Communities and Poverty, said: “The court said these were very serious offences. Mrs Tingey holds a position of responsibility within the company and the behaviour involved breaches public safety by allowing Mr Walker, an unlicensed and uninsured driver, to operate within the business. “Our priority, as a Council, is to keep the public safe and this case should send out a firm message to everyone that this behaviour will never be tolerated.” Private hire vehicles are licensed through the Wakefield Council Licensing Department and once licensed, can only be driven by a driver who has been fully vetted and licensed.

The matter will now be referred to the Wakefield Council Licensing Committee who will determine whether to revoke the company’s operator licence.

Image credit: Pixabay

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