A private hire driver who was illegally plying for hire in Mid Sussex has been successfully prosecuted after pleading guilty at Crawley Magistrates Court on 19 June.
Sussex District Council said that Transport for London licensed private hire driver Naser Bajwa, accepted passengers, who were not pre-booked through an operator, in his private hire vehicle.
Because Bajwa accepted the trip, it meant that his insurance, which only covers pre-booked journeys through a licensed operator, became invalid.
He pleaded guilty to illegally plying for hire and driving without insurance at Crawley Magistrates Court on 19 June.
As reported in the Crawley Observer, the district council’s licensing team received a complaint that Bajwa illegally accepted a trip on 25 December.
An investigation revealed he had been waiting outside bars in Church Road, Burgess Hill.
Bajwa was approached by two women who got into his vehicle. They then drove off. It was later revealed that the passengers had not pre-booked him through an operator and that he was acting illegally.
Councillor Norman Webster, cabinet member for community, said: “Mid Sussex District Council takes passenger safety very seriously. The laws and licensing standards that we enforce are in place to ensure that passengers are safe.
“People should be aware that if they use private hire vehicles without booking in advance then the vehicle will not be insured if an accident occurs and the drivers concerned risk prosecution.”
Bajwa was fined £733, ordered to pay a £44 victim surcharge and was instructed to cover the council’s costs of £939.34. He also received six penalty points on his licence.
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