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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:34 pm 
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Why yet another taxi driver has been fined following Cheltenham's racing festival

A Midlands taxi driver has been fined £1,000 for illegally cashing in on the Cheltenham Festival. Wolverhampton City Council-licensed Sohail Rehman was found guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court of unlawfully plying for hire during the racing festival in March last year.

The 22-year-old, of Birmingham, stopped his vehicle for Cheltenham Borough Council enforcement officers carrying out an undercover taxi operation during the busy racing event. Rehman attended an initial hearing at the court, entering a not guilty plea to the charges of plying for hire and having no insurance on Friday March 15 2019.

On February 3 this year Rehman did not attend the trial and the matter was heard in his absence. Following evidence being given to the court from council officers, Rehman was found guilty of both charges and was fined £1,000 and received eight penalty points on his licence. He was also ordered to pay £1,963 in costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

Wolverhampton City Council has been informed of the prosecution.

Councillor Andrew McKinlay (LD, Up Hatherley), cabinet member for development and safety, said: “So far Cheltenham Borough Council has prosecuted nine drivers for illegally plying for hire during Cheltenham Festival in March 2019 and there are additional court cases pending. We are hopeful that these prosecutions give a warning to drivers who wish to capitalise on the additional footfall to Cheltenham during Gold Cup week that we will take action should they operate unlawfully.”

Sarah Hughes, the council’s licensing enforcement officer, said: “Where drivers prosecuted are taxi or private hire drivers, the local authority in which they are licensed will be informed of any prosecutions and these authorities may then refer the matter to their licensing committee to review the drivers licence.

“Regulations are there to ensure the safety and welfare of the taxi travelling public and ultimately a driver found guilty of these offences may end up with a fine, points on their DVLA driving licence and their professional licence being revoked.

“If a member of the public gets into a vehicle not operating lawfully, they will not be covered by insurance in the event of an accident. “We’d like to remind everyone to check that the vehicle that they get into is properly licensed, either by pre-booking a private hire vehicle in advance through an operator or by taking a journey with a Cheltenham licensed hackney carriage vehicle.”

The council said its enforcement officers would continue to carry out spot checks and monitor activity during major race meetings.

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