Unlicensed private hire driver escapes a ban despite transporting passengers without insurance

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A private hire driver from Telford who transported paying passengers while uninsured has escaped a ban after a court heard he was a desperate man who was struggling to make ends meet for his family.

In a case brought by Telford & Wrekin Council, Shropshire Magistrates sitting in Telford on Monday 4 January heard that Amran Azam from Madeley, operated a Ford Galaxy car as a private hire vehicle when it was not licensed as one.

The court also heard that on 21 occasions, he used the car without insurance in journeys to take children to and from school between Albrighton and Bridgnorth and Penkridge and Shifnal.

Mr Azam pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed private hire vehicle and driving it without insurance. In mitigation, his defence, referring to character references, said his behaviour was out of character as he acted in desperation, having large debts and a family to support.

Sentencing Mr Azam, the court ruled against disqualifying him from driving due to the impact it would have on others. He was fined £250 for having no valid insurance at the time, £250 for operating the private hire vehicle without a licence and was ordered to pay £50 victim surcharge. He also received eight penalty points to reflect the seriousness of the offence.

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, said: “While we have sympathy for the fact that the driver was trying to make ends meet, it is right and lawful that they also meet all the legal requirements for the safety of everyone. Private hire drivers and their vehicles must be licensed and insured. Our licensing team is always available to offer help and support.”

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