Birmingham licensed driver prosecuted for unlawfully plying for hire in Cheltenham

 

Birmingham City Council private hire driver, Mr Tariq Hussain had been seen a number of occasions during the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

His behaviour raised suspicion and the vehicle details were kept for intelligence purposes.

On Thursday 16March 2017 Mr Hussain`s vehicle was once again seen in Cheltenham and was approached by Gloucester Officers who were assisting with the enforcement operation. The officer confirmed that they approached Mr Hussain and asked him if he was ‘free’ to take them to Gloucester. Mr Hussain accepted, the officers got in and the vehicle drove off. The officers asked Mr Hussain to stop the vehicle and cautioned him at the roadside.

During the investigation it was found that the driver records for Mr Hussain showed that there were a number of journeys recorded in Cheltenham over the period from Tuesday 14 March 2017 – Saturday 18 March 2017. Many of these journeys were for pick up and drop off in generic locations such as ‘Cheltenham centre’, ‘Gloucester’ and ‘Cheltenham’. In addition, there were a number of instances when Mr Hussain did not have customer telephone numbers to be able to call to identify the location for pick up.

Mr Hussain attended an interview under caution at the Council`s offices in July 2017 and the matter was referred for consideration at Cheltenham Magistrates. Mr Hussain entered a not guilty plea on 6 November 2017 for the offence of plying for hire without a licence to do so and having no insurance to carry out this activity, and the matter was referred to trial.

On Monday 12March 2018, Mr Hussain attended the trail where he changed his plea and made an application for exceptional hardship due to his personal circumstances. The District Judge accepted the hardship argument and fined Mr Hussain a total of £470, plus 6 points entered on the Defendant’s DVLA Licence.

Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, said: “The council will always prioritise the safety of the travelling public in Cheltenham. Illegal activity such as this can compromise public safety and protection and can also take away legitimate trade away from Cheltenham licensed drivers. The council will continue to take strict and formal action where drivers flaunt the law.”

This matter has now been referred back to Birmingham City Council who licence Mr Hussain.