A BLACKO pensioner has been prosecuted by Pendle Council for operating as a taxi driver without insurance or any of the appropriate licences.
Harry Preston (76), of Gisburn Road, was ordered to pay £265 when he appeared at Reedley Magistrates’ Court.
He was fined £100 for driving without insurance, and ordered to pay £150 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
He also had eight penalty points endorsed on his licence, but was not disqualified from driving. He had no valid insurance to cover him, or the vehicle, for private hire work.
The court was told Mr Preston had accepted a booking for an airport transfer without holding a private hire operator’s licence, vehicle licence or driver’s licence.
Mr Preston had also not undertaken a Criminal Record Check, a medical check, and his vehicle had not been mechanically tested.
Coun. Pauline McCormick, chairman of Pendle Council’s taxi licensing committee, said: “The actions of Mr Preston are extremely unfair on legitimate operators, who have to pay licence fees, medical fees and expensive insurance.
“However, my main concern is with his customers and other road users, whose safety he has seriously compromised by not undertaking the necessary tests and obtaining valid insurance.
“I hope this will serve as a lesson to others who think they can defy taxi licensing laws.
“We will catch up with you and you will be prosecuted.”
In mitigation, the court was told Mr Preston had no previous convictions. He accepted that he was not insured for paying passengers.
The court heard his wife was disabled with a serious back condition, and had regular appointments at Southport and Gisburn Park hospitals.
In passing sentence, the magistrates took into account Mr Preston’s previous good character and the exceptional hardship that would be caused to his wife if he lost his licence.