A TAXI driver faces fines and costs totalling £2,785 after offering to carry a covert customer illegally during Reading Festival.
Reading Borough Council licensing officers were carrying out test purchasing during the festival period last year when the offences were committed.
An undercover officer approached taxi driver Syed Hamdani, of Myrtle Crescent, Slough, in Cremyll Road, near the festival site, at about 11.30pm on 25th August 2017.
Mr Hamdani, a hackney carriage driver licensed by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, agreed to take the covert customer to Bracknell for £60 without a booking. If the journey had gone ahead, neither the driver, car or passenger would have been insured in the event of an accident.
The 44-year-old driver was charged with illegally plying for hire and failing to display his badge. He was found guilty at a hearing at Reading Magistrates Court on Tuesday 5th June 2018. Mr Hamdani did not attend court but made a written submission and denied the charges.
Mr Hamdani was fined £650 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £1,420 and a victim surcharge of £65.
Cllr Tony Page, Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“Licensing officers carry out these operations to protect members of the public from taking journeys in taxis which do not have the relevant licence.
“The driver in this case has been left considerably out of pocket after agreeing to take a passenger illegally for the sake of a £60 fare.
“I hope this acts as a deterrent to other taxi drivers who may be tempted to flout the law in Reading.”