A total of seven taxi drivers have been fined after being convicted of plying for trade illegally in Staffordshire.
The men, aged between 22 and 49, all from the Stoke-on-Trent area, appeared at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, each pleading guilty to two offences: plying for hire when not licensed and driving without insurance.
The court heard how the men plied for trade without being booked in advance, which meant they were not insured to carry out the subsequent journeys.
The drivers were identified as part of a proactive operation in late 2022 which saw Staffordshire Police work with partners including Stafford Borough Council, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
On each occasion, between 10.30pm and 11.50pm on 26 November last year, each driver was identified as not possessing the correct insurance for operating as a taxi and plying for trade.
A council officer, purporting to be a member of the public, was able to ride in the taxi as a passenger before being pulled over by a roads policing vehicle at a nearby check-point, where it was demonstrated that the driver was operating illegally.
During the court hearing in March, each driver was handed six penalty points on their driving licence and a fine of between £700 and £1,200. All have also been referred to the relevant local authority’s taxi licensing committee for a decision over whether they are allowed to continue to work as drivers in the future.
PC Martin Randle, from the Road Policing Team, who organised the operation, said: “This was a lengthy case that involved multiple individuals who were found to have put the public at risk by driving without insurance in order to supplement their income illegally.
“Though we understand times are tough for a lot of people at the moment, it is not acceptable to put the public in danger and I’m pleased the drivers admitted their offending in court.”
For more information on how to ensure safe travel, visit: Travel safe | Staffordshire Police.
Press Release No 6035