An illegal taxi driver who picked up fares across Liverpool city centre was asked ‘was it worth it?’ after being banned and fined hundreds of pounds.
The Liverpool Echo reports that Liverpool City Council officers observed Mruan Elkehya posing as both a private hire driver and public hire driver over a period of two months.
Liverpool Magistrates Court heard that he was first stopped in February and produced an out-of-date driver’s badge. The council launched an investigation and Elkehya was observed plying for trade throughout the city centre on five different occasions.
Not only was he operating without a licence or taxi insurance, on four more occasions, he also tried to pass himself off as a genuine taxi driver by displaying magnetic taxi door signs for companies he didn’t work for, and even on one occasion had two Liverpool Council magnetic signs on display.
The court also heard that he had previously held a private hire licence in the city and told officials he was in the process of renewing that licence.
He pleaded guilty to 10 charges including acting as a private hire vehicle driver, driving without insurance and plying for hire without a licence. He received 24 penalty points on his driving licence and was disqualified for driving for 12 months.
He was also fined £440 and must pay £325 costs and a surcharge of £176.
After sentencing, Liverpool City Council summed things up perfectly in a tweet that asked: “Was it worth it?”
For the cost of the nine illegal fares he was seen to pick up, he is now banned from driving and has had to pay almost £950 in fines and court costs.
And having 24 points on his licence, as well as convictions for driving without insurance and plying for hire without a licence, will come back to haunt him at the end of his ban because his insurance premiums will be through the roof. And it remains to be seen whether he would be granted a new taxi licence.
Because of the danger he posed, it is not surprising that the council went to such lengths to gather evidence and build a case against him.
After the sentencing, Councillor Harry Doyle, Liverpool Council cabinet member with responsibility for taxi licensing, said: “Cracking down on drivers posing as taxi drivers is critical in our commitment to safeguarding residents and visitors, ensuring everyone is as safe as possible when they travel around our city. These rogue drivers not only jeopardise the wellbeing of unsuspecting passengers but also undermine the credibility of legitimate taxi services.
“By operating without the necessary licences and insurance, they create a hazardous environment on our roads, leaving innocent lives at risk. The severity of this ban, penalty points and fine sends out a strong message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and our proactive team will do everything they can to keep people like this off our streets.
“I’d like to congratulate the team for their work in making sure every journey is a safe and secure, provided by licensed, responsible and trustworthy drivers.”
Keeping people safe is the reason there are strict regulations governing taxi drivers and people posing as cabbies pose a huge risk to passengers and other road users.
Those who think they can get away with it and earn some easy money should think again. As this case demonstrates, it really isn’t worth it.
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