A private hire driver has been prosecuted after being caught picking up a passenger illegally - plying for hire - known as ‘blagging’ - in Milton Keynes.
Milton Keynes Magistrates’ heard the case last Friday (13 July 2018) after a joint enforcement operation carried out by MK Council and Thames Valley Police in January 2018.
Mobeen Shabbir of Luton attended court and pleaded guilty to plying for hire and driving without valid motor insurance in January 2018.
He was fined £40 for plying for hire and £120 for invalid insurance. He was also given 8 DVLA penalty points and has to pay costs of £300, with a victim surcharge of £30.
At the time of the offence(s) his vehicle was operated by Royal Cabs. Mr Shabbir is currently licensed by Aylesbury Vale District Council who will take appropriate action concerning his licence.
The court heard that on 28 January 2018 Council Taxi Licensing Officers and Thames Valley Police were in a marked police vehicle conducting roadside checks on licensed vehicles. At approximately 12:20am police stopped Mr Shabbir’s vehicle on Grafton Street, Bleak Hall and it was found that the vehicle was defective and that the passenger had not pre-booked the vehicle.
Councillor Catriona Morris, Chair of the council’s Taxi Licensing Committee, said:“This case further illustrates the problem of illegal plying for hire or ‘blagging’ that is going on in Milton Keynes - mainly by drivers licensed by other councils.
"This case was not a test purchase exercise but a routine police stop and compliance check which has uncovered a serious unlawful practice where the passenger was not covered by the vehicle’s insurance policy and who’s safety was therefore at risk.
"This case clearly supports the Council’s ongoing test purchase programme and zero tolerance approach to drivers who illegally ply for hire in Milton Keynes."
She added: "This result will hopefully send a strong message to all drivers who want to take un-booked journeys that they will be caught and prosecuted. I would like to commend Council Officers and Thames Valley Police for their excellent work in stopping this vehicle and putting this offender before the court.”