Undercover sting traps taxi driver

A PRIVATE hire driver was trapped by undercover trading standards officers when he picked up a ‘fare’.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 22nd August 2011, 5:21 pm

Salamat Hussain Chaudhury of Overstone Road, Luton, was found guilty at Luton Magistrates for picking up the officers in Dunstable, who hadn’t been pre-booked through the controller of the hire firm.

The magistrates found that there was undisputable evidence that Mr Chaudhury was fully aware that this was not a pre-booked fare. He was later spotted by the officers he had just dropped off, collecting his legitimate fare passenger that he claimed he thought the officers were.

Chaudhury was fined £350 and ordered to pay £600 towards prosecution costs in the case, brought by Central Bedfordshire Council’s trading standards department.

Private Hire vehicles collecting non-booked fares, are not insured.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “This case should serve as a strong deterrent to all those private hire drivers who are tempted to collect un-booked passengers from the roadside to make extra money.

“Our officers are out there regularly checking and protecting consumers and legitimate traders and we will take legal action against you if you are caught. This case should also be a warning to all of us to make sure if we haven’t booked a taxi, we are getting into a Hackney Carriage. People can tell by the licence plate displayed on the vehicle.

“Trading Standards have since carried out additional operations and found more Private Hire vehicles who have been ‘plying for hire’. Further operations are planned for the future and the council will continue to take prompt action in prosecuting such offences “