A previously convicted private hire driver has been successfully prosecuted after being caught twice in the one night illegally picking up passengers - plying for hire (known as ‘blagging’) - in Milton Keynes.
MK Magistrates heard the case on Monday (July 30, 2018), which followed a joint enforcement operation carried out by Milton Keynes and South Northamptonshire Councils in October 2017.
Yasir Mahmood of Austin Road, Luton attended court and pleaded not guilty to plying for hire and driving without valid motor insurance on two separate occasions in October 2017.
After a trial he was found guilty and fined £100 for each plying for hire offence and £200 for each invalid motor insurance offence. He was disqualified from driving (DVLA driver licence) for four months and also has to pay costs of £650, with a victim surcharge of £30.
At the time of the offences his vehicle was operated by Speedline. Mr Mahmood is currently licensed by SNC who will take appropriate action concerning his Private Hire/Hackney Carriage driver licence.
The court heard that on 22 October 2017 Taxi Licensing Officers from Milton Keynes and South Northants Councils, acting as members of the public, engaged Mr Mahmood on two separate journeys, which had not been pre-booked, from one location to another in Milton Keynes.
Council officers did not alert any driver during the evening, including Mr Mahmood, that they were conducting test purchase checks which would explain why Mr Mahmood was caught twice in the one evening.
Further investigation showed that Mr Mahmood’s vehicle was not insured for these journeys.
Mr Mahmood was previously prosecuted by Milton Keynes Council in 2010 for the same offences and was permitted to keep his licence by SNC, but with the addition of penalty points.
However later that year SNC revoked his licence for insurance fraud. In 2012 Mr Mahmood re-applied to SNC for his driver licence and it was granted.
Cllr Catriona Morris, Chair of the MKC’s Taxi Licensing Committee, said:“Once again this is another case that further illustrates the problem of illegal plying for hire or ‘blagging’ that is going on in Milton Keynes. This driver has now been successfully prosecuted on two occasions by Milton Keynes Council for the same set of offences.
“I would hope that this case sends a further powerful message to all licensed drivers that if you illegally ply for hire you will be caught and prosecuted.
“The offences of illegally plying for hire and no insurance are serious and put passenger safety at risk if an accident occurs.
“Our ongoing test purchase programme and zero tolerance approach to drivers who illegally ply for hire in Milton Keynes will therefore continue. I would like to thank South Northants Council for their support in these joint operations.”