It is great news that a stolen black cab has been returned to its taxi driver owner without a scratch on it, and the thief responsible has been locked up.
The incident happened last month in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and fortunately, the illegal fare lasted just seven minutes as the speeding black-cab thief was caught by an elite roads policing unit. The undamaged vehicle was returned to a grateful public hire taxi driver who was able to get back to the job he enjoys. Had it been badly damaged or been missing for days, it would have affected his livelihood until a replacement was found or any repairs had been made.
Insurance is a vital part of keeping people safe on the roads and this case highlights how important it is. By law, everyone who drives any vehicle on a public road must have relevant insurance to do so, whether they are commuting to work, going to the shops, or using it for work. The owner of the cab which was stolen has to have public hire insurance, in addition to being licensed with the local council, in order to do his job properly and safely.
In the event of a crash, the insurers of the party found liable will pay for any damage, as well as any hire cars or other expenses incurred while the vehicle is off the road.
If there are any injuries as a result of a crash, insurance is vital to make sure that victims receive the treatment and support they need to recover.
Those who drive without insurance pose a huge risk to everyone else on the roads and this is why courts take such a tough line with them. In cases where people get behind the wheel of a vehicle without insurance in place, the vehicle will be seized on the spot by police.
In order to get it back, the driver must be able to prove they have a licence and have taken out valid insurance, as well as paying daily storage fees for the vehicle which must also have a current MoT.
The driver will also receive points on their licence which could lead to a ban, in addition to any fine and court costs. Those who ignore driving bans usually find themselves in prison.
In this case, the 34-year-old who decided to take the taxi pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
Having already been banned from driving and with no insurance, if he had been involved in a collision and caused damage or injury, it wouldn’t be his insurers paying out, resulting in higher premiums for everyone else.
Fortunately, police spotted John Jason Fitzgerald, 34, of Argyle Avenue, Aylesbury, in the speeding black cab and were quickly able to stop it before any damage was caused. In fact, police were so quick to respond that they discovered the public-hire taxi had been stolen less than 10 minutes earlier.
The thief, who was known to police, was jailed for 14 weeks and was given a further 24-month driving ban by magistrates.
After the case, PC Levi Fensom, of the Aylesbury Stronghold Team, said: “Usually the Stronghold Team is focused on tackling drug dealing. However, that doesn’t stop us from spotting other criminal activity and with the roads policing team, we caught Fitzgerald after he had stolen the taxi cab.
“He’s now paid for that journey with a custodial sentence.
“Thankfully, the taxi cab was not damaged and has been returned to its grateful owner.”
It was great work by the police and shows how important it is to make sure valid insurance is in place whenever people get behind the wheel.
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