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Poulton taxi driver fined for flouting cab driving rules
A Poulton taxi driver has been fined £460 for operating without an appropriate licence and insurance.
Barry Jones, 49, of Arundel Drive, was found to be in breach of private hire licensing laws after investigating officers booked a taxi journey with him over the telephone.
Samantha Marland-Fitzell, prosecuting for Wyre Borough Council, told Blackpool magistrates that concerns about the validity of the service being operated by Mr Jones under the name of Bluebird Airport Taxi Service were first raised in March 2008.
Subsequent checks by the council's Taxi Licensing and Enforcement Officer revealed the defendant was not, nor had he ever been, licensed as a private hire driver nor had he ever held a private hire operators licence.
The court heard how despite numerous requests from the council for Mr Jones to cease trading, further complaints that he was operating illegally were received.
As a result a booking was made by a licensing officer on 25 June and the journey made two days later, during which the officer identified himself to Mr Jones.
Mr Jones pleaded guilty to not holding a private hire drivers licence and not having an operators licence, contrary to sections 48 and 55 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
He was fined £130 for each offence. He also admitted driving without insurance, contrary to section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, for which he was fined £200 and received eight penalty points on his driving licence.
He was also ordered to pay the council's costs of £200 and a £15 victims surcharge.
An early guilt plea was taken into consideration which resulted in an automatic one third reduction in his sentence.
Malcolm Reece, Health Safety and Licensing Manager for Wyre Borough Council, said: "Before any taxi licences are issued, checks are made that drivers are fit and proper people and that vehicles are mechanically sound.
"People who operate without licences do not undergo these checks and any insurance they may have would be invalid.
"We are therefore very pleased that this prosecution has been successful and hope that it will deter others who may seek to bypass the licensing system."