23/05/2017 - Permalink

Two Telford private hire drivers prosecuted for illegally plying for hire

Related topics: Public protection

Shropshire Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing service has welcomed two separate successful prosecutions of private hire drivers who were found to be illegally plying for hire.

Stanley Onuoha of Holborn Crescent, Telford, was sentenced at Telford Magistrates’ Court on 18 May 2017. In the early hours of 1 October 2016 he illegally collected, from a car park in Shfinal, two plain-clothed council officers who had not booked through a licensed operator – an activity known as plying for hire.

Onuoha pleaded guilty to plying for hire and for having invalid motor insurance for the journey undertaken. He was ordered by the court to pay a total of £310 and was given six penalty points on his driving licence.

The officers that Onuoha collected were part of a pre-planned plying for hire operation undertaken by Shropshire Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing investigations team. These operations aim to safeguard the public by tackling those drivers who are willing to take an unbooked fare and thus invalidate their insurance for that journey.

Meanwhile, on 4 May 2017, Amjad Ali, of St Chads Close, Telford was also convicted of plying for hire  following another operation in Shifnal on 26 November 2017. Ali was ordered by the Court to pay a total of £482.

Grant Tunnadine, investigation, compliance and intervention team manager with Shropshire Council, said:

“We welcome the outcome of these cases. Shropshire Council takes these incidents extremely seriously. We will continue to run plying for hire operations and investigate any driver found to be operating illegally. Our advice to the trade is clear – private hire vehicles are not permitted to ply for hire and where we identify such cases we will investigate them fully. Not only is this activity illegal it will invalidate a driver’s insurance putting customers at serious risk. Any private hire driver found plying for hire will not only face the prospect of legal action in the courts but they will also be reported to the council’s licensing panel with the very realistic prospect of losing their licence.”

Frances Darling, trading standards and licensing operations manager with Shropshire Council, said:

“We will continue to crack down on unsafe taxi and private hire vehicles and we encourage members of the public to report any illegal activity to us. Any information received from the public will be followed up but ultimately such information helps us to identify and determine our enforcement activities and priorities. Our trading standards and licensing team works closely with the police when undertaking evening patrols and from time to time this can include undertaking covert ‘plying for hire’ operations using plain-clothed officers. These checks are undertaken across the whole of the county with the aim of stamping out illegal activity and improving public safety.”

Shropshire Council encourages individuals to contact its Trading Standards and Licensing team on 0345 678 9046 if they have any suspicions of any illegal activity or any concerns with taxis or private hire vehicles and operators. Information can be given anonymously and will always be treated in line with the council’s information governance policies.