Unlicensed Hartlepool taxi driver fined after cheap lifts advertised on Facebook
An unlicensed taxi driver was caught operating in Hartlepool after cheap lifts were advertised on Facebook.
Licensing chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council are warning of the dangers of accepting rides from unlicensed cabbies after the conviction of Raymond Cann.
Cann, 46, of Arch Court, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty at Teesside Magistrates Court to driving without a private hire driver’s licence, driving a vehicle that was not licensed as a private hire vehicle and driving without insurance.
He was fined £480, ordered to pay £300 costs and given eight penalty points.
The court was told that a Facebook post appeared on December 31 last year from a young female offering lifts for £5.
A local man accepted the offer and was subsequently picked up by Cann, who also carried out a return journey later that same evening.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s Licensing Team investigated after a complaint and found that Cann did not have a licence to act as a taxi driver, his vehicle was not licensed as a private hire vehicle and therefore was not insured.
Ian Harrison, Hartlepool Trading Standards and Licensing Manager, said: “There is an inherent risk in accepting lifts from strangers.
“This is one of the reasons why taxi drivers must undergo rigorous checks including Enhanced Criminal Records checks, thorough medical examinations and training on issues such as Child Sexual Exploitation. Regular vehicle checks also take place.
“This is to ensure that they are safe and suitable to transport members of the public. Unlicensed drivers have not undergone these checks and therefore members of the public have no reassurances about their safety and, when a driver is unlicensed, the car they are driving will be uninsured.
“I am aware that Facebook and other social media platforms are being used to offer ‘cheap lifts’ but I would urge everyone to not accept these regardless of how attractive the offer may sound.
“In order to protect the public, Hartlepool Council will not hesitate in taking enforcement action against any other person it finds to be acting as an unlicensed taxi driver.”
For further information or to report a similar incident, contact the council’s licensing team on (01429) 523354.