13 April 2011>
A Caerphilly county borough resident has been taken to court and fined for operating as an unlicensed driver, in an uninsured vehicle.
Clifford Brian Burton from Penpedairheol was taken to court by Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards team for offences relating to being an unlicensed driver and using an uninsured vehicle to transport passengers as a taxi.
The offences came to light after Trading Standards received complaints that Burton was driving the vehicle while unlicensed and operating as Cascade Cabs.
Trading Standards began an investigation and at a test purchase on 12th August 2010, Burton was caught picking up a fare at Pengam Train Station.
When approached by Trading Standards Officers, Burton gave a false identity and claimed he was a licensed driver. When questioned, Burton admitted he was not the person he claimed to be and also admitted to using the vehicle on other occasions.
Burton appeared at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on 8th April 2011, where he was found guilty of offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. He was ordered to pay a £500 fine and a £15 victim surcharge.
While the vehicle in question was licensed as a Hackney Carriage by Burton, he himself was not a driver licensed by Caerphilly County Borough Council.
The car was insured in the name of Burton's wife and another person. Burton was not listed on the insurance, therefore was not insured for hire and reward and as a consequence, any passengers were not covered in the event of an accident.
Due to the fact he was uninsured, he also received a one-month driving ban.
Cllr Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said, "The safety of our residents in using taxis is of paramount importance to us, and fortunately we experience very few instances of unlicensed taxi operators in our county borough".
He continued, "Burton was potentially putting his passengers at risk by transporting them without authorisation, and I would encourage anyone with any information on unlicensed taxi operators in Caerphilly county borough to contact us".
To report an unlicensed taxi operator in Caerphilly county borough, please call Trading Standards on 01495 235 291.
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