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Caerphilly taxi firm fined for using unlicensed drivers

Posted on : 28 Aug 2019

Caerphilly taxi firm fined for using unlicensed drivers
Caerphilly taxi firm fined for using unlicensed drivers

A Caerphilly-based taxi company and its company director have been taken to court and fined for using unlicensed taxi drivers, following an investigation by Caerphilly’s Trading Standards team.
 
Fieldston Limited of Machen, and its company director Richard Graham Collins, also of Machen, both pleaded guilty to eight separate offences when the case was heard at Cwmbran Magistrates Court on 19th August 2019.
 
The company, which operate licensed Private Hire vehicles, pleaded guilty to offences contrary to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. The offences related to operating Private Hire vehicles being driven by unlicensed drivers, employing unlicensed drivers, failing to exhibit the ‘taxi plate’ on Private Hire vehicles and failing to keep records of Private Hire contracts.
 
Director, Collins pleaded guilty to eight offences of causing his company to commit the offences due to his neglect.
 
One of the drivers involved, Raymond Charles Bartlett, of Newport, also pleaded guilty to one offence of driving a Private Hire vehicle without having a taxi driver’s licence.
 
The offences came to light after Caerphilly Trading Standards Officers and Education Transport Officers visited a Caerphilly secondary school to check on all taxis transporting children to school, to ensure that vehicles were safe and appropriately licensed.
 
During the visit, two Private Hire vehicles owned and operated by Fieldston Limited were found to be driven by individuals who were not licensed to drive Private Hire vehicles by Caerphilly County Borough Council. Both vehicles also failed to display the plates signifying they were licensed vehicles. Further investigations also revealed that Fieldston Limited had also failed to record the details of contracts in their records.
 
The court fined Fieldston Limited £4,000 and ordered them to pay costs to Trading Standards of £900 and a surcharge of £40. Richard Collins was ordered to pay a fine of £3,200, together with costs to Trading Standards of £900 and a surcharge of £40. The unlicensed taxi driver, Raymond Bartlett was fined £330, and ordered to pay costs to Trading Standards of £120 and a surcharge of £33.
 
Cllr Eluned Stenner, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and the Environment said, “Drivers of vehicles licensed by councils to carry fare paying passengers undergo enhanced checks on their suitability to carry members of the public.  Similarly, taxis are required to display signage confirming they are licensed, to give assurance to members of the public that they are travelling in safe, licensed vehicles driven by licensed drivers.
 
“Quite clearly, these requirements were not adhered to in the case of this company, and could potentially have caused serious harm to members of the public. I am pleased the court has emphasised the seriousness of the offence in the level of fine it imposed.
 
“Our Trading Standards team work tirelessly to ensure our residents are able to go about their lives in a safe environment; we simply will not allow the small minority of people who flout their legal responsibilities in the way this company and its director did to get away with it”.
 
To report an issue to Caerphilly’s Trading Standards team, please visit www.caerphilly.gov.uk/tradingstandards or call 01443 811 300.



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