A fake minicab driver was exposed and prosecuted after a joint sting operation by Southampton and Eastleigh council.
Dennis Hewlett disguised his vehicle with a Chequered logo to make his car look like a private hire vehicle.
Hewlett also put no-smoking signs in the front windows of his dark-blue Vauxhall Zafira, to give the vehicle an air of authenticity and more credibility.
However, Hewlett made the mistake of picking up two licensing officers who were posing as paying customers as part of a joint sting operation between Southampton and Eastleigh borough councils.
The two officers were waiting outside the Boomerang bar in Hamble when Hewlett approached them, before driving them to the Tesco store in Bursledon.
Hewlett then charged the undercover officers for the journey, he also supplied them with his business card, before being approached by a third licensing officer who had followed him in another vehicle.
The Daily Echo reported that Southampton Magistrates Court heard how Hewlett, of Meon Court, Southampton, as well as his vehicle, were both unlicensed, in any area, to provide either private hire or taxi services.
Hewlett did not appear in court last week and was found guilty in his absence of illegally plying for hire.
His sentencing was adjourned.
Image: Basher Eyre