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Unlicensed PHV driver fined over £900 after sting finds him illegally plying-for-hire in Reading

An unlicensed private hire vehicle (PHV) driver in Reading has been issued fines totalling over £900 and received eight penalty points on his licence after being caught illegally plying for hire.

Mr Adeel Soomro, a 40-year-old driver, was discovered operating a PHV without a licence, in a designated controlled district, and without proper insurance.

The incident occurred on 8 April 2023, when Mr Soomro parked his car in a disabled bay on Oxford Road. Council licensing officers, who were well aware of the area's reputation for unlicensed taxi activity, approached Mr Soomro. In an undercover operation, they requested he take them to Tilehurst for a fee of £15, despite not having previously booked his services.

Following the investigation, Mr Soomro appeared in Reading Magistrates' Court on 10 November 2023. He was found guilty of illegally plying for hire and driving without insurance. As a result, he has been ordered to pay a total of £960 in financial penalties and has received eight penalty points on his driving licence.

With Christmas festivities just around the corner, the Reading Council licensing officers are highlighting the risks associated with using unlicensed PHVs to partygoers. Residents are strongly advised to only travel in private hire vehicles that have been pre-booked or to opt for black cabs.

In addition, residents are reminded not to be swayed by convenience, availability, or cheap fares when using transportation services. Unlicensed drivers lack the necessary safety measures to protect both passengers and their journeys.

Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: “This is another positive result for the Council’s licensing team, who work hard to ensure regulations are in force to protect Reading’s travelling public.

“Reading Borough Council will look to prosecute any driver caught Plying for Hire. Such illegal activity will not be tolerated, and our team of licensing officers will continue to maintain their vigilant enforcement activities.”


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