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Taxi driver banned and ordered to pay nearly £3,000 for plying-for-hire outside of licensed area

Updated: Jul 31, 2022



A Hackney Carriage taxi driver has been disqualified from driving and ordered to pay almost £3,000 after plying for trade illegally at Henley Regatta.


On Friday 8 July, at Oxford Magistrates' Court, Mr Sharafat Anayat, 39, of Woodstock Close, Maidenhead, was found guilty of illegally picking up passengers outside of the district where his vehicle was licensed. He was also found guilty of driving without the required insurance, failing to wear his council issued driver’s badge and of obstructing council officers in the course of their duties.

In court, the District Judge heard how on 13 August 2021, licensing officers from South Oxfordshire District Council and neighbouring councils who were working at Henley Regatta had spotted Mr Anayat’s vehicle parked on double yellow lines in Thameside, Henley-on-Thames, with its taxi roof light on.


An illuminated taxi roof sign is an indication that a Hackney Carriage is available immediately for hire. However, Mr Anayat’s vehicle was licensed by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and therefore he was only permitted to ply for hire within that district and not in any other district without a prior booking.

Having witnessed Mr Anayat’s vehicle parked with its roof sign lit up, a licensing officer approached and asked Mr Anayat if he could take him to an address in Slough.

Mr Anayat replied saying he was available and could do the journey immediately for £50. He then opened the door to allow the officer to enter the vehicle. The licensing officers then introduced themselves and asked to see Mr Anayat’s badge, which was not being worn. Under the guise of retrieving his badge from the vehicle, Mr Anayat drove off.


The District Judge agreed that Mr Anayat’s actions were a serious offence which could put public safety at risk. He was therefore disqualified from driving for three months and ordered to pay a £900 fine, £2,000 costs and a £90 victim surcharge.


Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We have seen a number of Hackney Carriage drivers attempting to pick up passengers illegally, particularly at events such as Henley Regatta, and our Licensing Team have been carrying out significant enforcement work to stop this from happening.

“If a driver accepts fares unlawfully in our district then our officers will not have been able to check that their vehicle is safe or whether they are a suitable person to be transporting passengers. Drivers who do this are often uninsured and do not keep a record of their journeys. Such actions put people’s safety at risk and undermine the majority of drivers who play by the rules.”

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