Driver prosecuted for illegally plying for hire at Shrewsbury railway station
Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing service has successfully prosecuted a private hire driver, licensed by the City of Wolverhampton Council, after he was found to be illegally plying for hire in Shropshire.
Mihai-Ionut Borodea, of Wrockwardine Wood, Telford was sentenced at Telford Magistrates’ Court on 23 July 2018 after pleading guilty to illegally collecting members of the public at Shrewsbury railway station in the early hours of 17 December 2017. The passengers had not booked through a licensed operator but instead approached the driver who had pulled up at the station and then agreed to undertake the requested journey from Shrewsbury to Broseley – an activity known as plying for hire.
As a result of the plying for hire, it was also held that Borodea’s motor insurance was invalid for the journey. He was ordered by the court, to pay a fine and costs totalling £320 and received six penalty points on his driving licence.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager said:
“Shropshire Council takes illegal private hire activities extremely seriously. 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, including cases where the driver is licensed by another local authority. Not only is this activity illegal it will invalidate a drivers insurance putting customers at risk.”
Joyce Barrow, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, waste and regulatory services, said:
“We will continue to crack down on unsafe private hire vehicles and taxis and we encourage members of the public to report illegal activity to us. We can use this information to help determine the council’s enforcement priorities and activities. Our officers carry out vehicle and driver licensing checks across Shropshire to stamp out illegal activity and ensure the safety of the public. Officers work closely with the police to carry out evening patrols and undertake plying for hire operations using plain clothed officers.
“This case has seen effective partnership working between officers from both Shropshire Council and the City of Wolverhampton Council to ensure public safety and I am confident that this will continue.”
Councillor Alan Bolshaw, Chair of the City of Wolverhampton’s Licensing Committee said:
“Plying for hire is a serious offence that places members of the public in danger. Private hire journeys must be pre-booked otherwise they may not be insured. City of Wolverhampton Council officers assisted Shropshire Council with their enquiries to bring about the successful prosecution. The driver’s private hire licence will now be reviewed by officers.”
Shropshire Council encourages individuals to contact its Licensing Team on 0345 678 9046 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have suspicions of any illegal activity or any concerns about private hire or taxi drivers or vehicles. Information can be given anonymously and will always be treated in line with the council’s information governance policies.