Borough Council of Wellingborough

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Unlicensed taxi driver prosecuted

Published Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A taxi driver has been prosecuted by Wellingborough Council for driving without a valid licence or valid insurance. The taxi firm he worked for was also taken to court for allowing the unlicensed driver to work for them.

David Lettin of Finedon, and Road Runner Taxi Ltd of Wellingborough, were caught during a routine inspection of the company by licensing officers from the council.

During the inspection at the firm’s base in Mill Road on 21 May last year, the officers saw from company records that Lettin had continued to drive for Road Runner despite his private hire driver’s licence expiring on 30 April, three weeks previously. Not having the licence also meant that his vehicle insurance was invalid.

David Lettin turned up for work while the inspection was taking place and the licensing officers saw him driving his taxi.

Both Lettin and Road Runner were prosecuted and appeared at Northampton Magistrate’s Court yesterday (12 January 2015) where they pleaded guilty to two offences each.

Road Runner Taxi Ltd was fined £500 for allowing Lettin to drive the licensed vehicle without a valid private hire driver’s licence and £500 for invalid insurance cover on the vehicle. They were also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £50 and the council’s full costs of £656, making a total of £1,706.

The company had previously accepted a formal caution for similar offences in 2012, whilst under different ownership.

Lettin was fined £220 for driving a private hire vehicle without holding a valid private hire driver’s licence and £325 for driving with invalid insurance cover on the vehicle, as well as a victim surcharge of £32 and £85 towards the council’s costs. He was also issued with six penalty points on his driving licence.

Amanda Wilcox, licensing manager at Wellingborough Council, said: “A valid licence and valid vehicle insurance are essential to keep the public safe when they travel by taxi.

“This case came about simply because neither the driver nor the operator checked the expiry date of Mr Lettin’s licence. We send out renewal documentation to drivers several weeks before expiry, and we expect operators to have controls in place to prevent unlicensed drivers working for them, but if they don’t comply we won’t hesitate to take formal action against them.

“All drivers are required to wear their licence badge prominently when working. If passengers can’t see the driver’s badge, or are not shown the badge on request, they can contact our licensing officers on 01933 231 966.”