Thanet District Council has brought a successful prosecution against a Private Hire Taxi Operator and Driver, following hearings in Margate Magistrates Court on Wednesday 26 April.
The court dismissed an appeal and awarded the council costs of £1,376.83.
At prosecution, the taxi operator was found guilty of allowing an unlicensed Private Hire Vehicle to be used and given fines and costs totalling £1,039.
In addition, the driver was found guilty of driving without a Private Hire Vehicle licence and given fines and costs totalling £824.
The case was brought because the operator was allowing the use of a personalised number plate with the company name and the letters ‘CAB’, which could be used to ply for hire. This is prohibited under the Private Hire Licence conditions; only Hackney Carriages are permitted to display the words ‘CAB’ or ‘TAXI’ on vehicles.
The driver was stopped in a joint operation organised by Thanet District Council and Kent Police. They were found to be displaying this number plate on their vehicle, after being repeatedly advised by council Licensing Officers that they could not licence the vehicle as private hire with that particular licence plate.
Cllr Heather Keen, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Taxis provide an important service to our residents. It is extremely important that they are operating within the law, to protect taxi users and other licensed operators.
“Vehicle licences are issued with conditions to ensure the comfort and safety of passengers and may be subject to spot checks by Licensing Officers.”
“We take matters of this nature very seriously, and won’t hesitate to prosecute where we have evidence of vehicles operating without a valid licence in place.”
This is the first time that a successful prosecution has been brought in Kent, involving wording on a personalised number plate.
Members of the public are advised to always check that private hire vehicles or taxis are licensed. Licensed vehicles display an identification plate on the rear, which states the correct vehicle registration number and expiry date.