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Unlicensed taxi driver fined hundreds of pounds

Plying for hire without a licence in the Staffordshire Moorlands has cost a taxi driver hundreds of pounds and six penalty points on his licence.

Mr Muhammad Shahzad was also convicted of driving without insurance when he appeared before magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Court on Friday 12 February.

Mr Shahzad, of Cauldon Road, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, is licensed by Newcastle Borough Council where he can pick up passengers without a booking but this does not extend to the Moorlands where any work he carries out must be pre-booked.

The conviction follows a joint operation by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Staffordshire Police in Biddulph when he agreed to take plain-clothed officers without a booking which invalidated his insurance.

Mr Shahzad was fined £150 and ordered to pay £650 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Councillor Brian Johnson, cabinet member for community safety at the Council, said: "The safety of passengers using taxis and private hire vehicles is paramount which is why it is so important to be sure that the taxis and private hire vehicles and drivers you use are properly licensed.

"I hope this conviction sends out a clear message that being licensed matters, that we do monitor those people offering taxi services and that we will take action against anyone operating illegally.

"It's easy for passengers to check as licensed vehicles should display a plate with the licence number, vehicle registration and the Council's logo and the driver will usually wear, or display, an identity badge. In Staffordshire Moorlands passengers can only jump in or hail taxis displaying white plates with a blue border - all other vehicles need to be booked in advance."