Bristol driver prosecuted for unlawfully plying for hire in Cheltenham

Published on 24th January 2018

A wooden gavel on top of a document

A driver from Bristol has been prosecuted by Cheltenham Borough Council for unlawfully plying for hire.

On Friday 17 March 2017 two officers from Gloucester City Council, working in partnership with officers from Cheltenham Borough Council, approached a silver Vauxhall Vivaro.  The vehicle was licensed by Bristol City Council as a private hire vehicle.

It stopped in the road just prior to the junction with Royal Well Road. Both officers approached the car and asked the driver if he was free. The driver asked where they wanted to go and the officers responded that they wished to go to Gloucester. Following a discussion, the driver suggested a price of £42 for the journey which the officers accepted.  The driver invited the officers to get into his vehicle to take them to Gloucester without an advance booking.

Mr Hassan was invited to attend an interviewed under caution on 20 April 2017 but failed to attend. He instead submitted a written statement.

Mr Hassan was reported for the offence of unlawfully plying for hire and was summoned to appear before Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Monday 15 January 2017.

The Court heard the evidence from officers from Gloucester City Council and Cheltenham Borough Council, and found in summing up that, whilst Mr Hassan suggested that he was in Cheltenham to pick up a booking, he had not taken the appropriate steps to ensure that he was picking up the correct persons and instead accepted the request of a journey from persons who had not pre-booked with his operator. Mr Hassan was consequently found guilty of unlawfully plying for hire in Cheltenham and for an offence of not having adequate insurance. 

Mr Hassan was fined a total of £580.00 for the offence.

Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, said: “The council will always prioritise the safety of the travelling public in Cheltenham.  Unlicensed drivers put the safety and protection of passengers at risk because they are not properly insured or checked.

“In addition it takes legitimate trade away from Cheltenham licensed drivers. The council will continue to take strict and formal action where drivers flaunt the law.”

Sarah Hughes, licensing enforcement officer, said: “This prosecution highlights the success of partnership working with our colleagues from other local authorities. It also gives a warning to drivers who wish to capitalise on the additional footfall to Cheltenham during Gold Cup week that we will not only continue to put additional staff on the streets during major races, but that we will also take action should they operate unlawfully.”

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