A taxi driver who produced a sex toy and waved it towards an undercover police officer posing as a passenger has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Jamil Iqbal (41), of Humphrey Street, Brierfield, was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years, after admitting attempted sexual assault at Burnley Crown Court.
The father-of-six, who has since surrendered his taxi licence and is now working as a part-time takeaway delivery driver, was also made the subject of a two-year supervision order and a 10-year sexual offences prevention order.
Mr Mark Stuart (prosecuting) said police had deployed undercover officers in relation to information received and one of these, named only as Nicky, called Victor’s Taxis in Brierfield from the Oaks Hotel in the early hours of December 7th last year.
Iqbal arrived in a car bearing the logo of another firm. but told Nicky he was from Victor’s.
He began asking her deeply personal questions and the pair exchanged mobile telephone numbers.
Nine days later, Nicky called Iqbal again from a restaurant in Cliviger and asked for a “two drop” taxi for herself and a colleague, Sarah.
Iqbal turned up, this time in an unmarked taxi, and picked the officers up, dropping Nicky off in Brierfield and then setting off towards Barrowford with Sarah.
He again asked the officer the same personal questions, unsuccessfully tried to get her into the front seat with him and then produced a sex toy which he waved towards her.
After he dropped her off, officers in support stopped Iqbal and arrested him. In interview, he suggested that it was as much the women who had instigated talk about sex, but declined to comment further when told they were undercover officers.
Mr Aftab Anwar (defending) said Iqbal had pleaded guilty to the offence at the first opportunity and asked the court to give him credit for that.
“The pre-sentence report clearly demonstrates he is deeply remorseful and knows he has done wrong.
“He had been a taxi driver for 12 years and has worked in factories where there were women workers and nothing like this has happened before,” he said.
“He has already been punished by losing his job and I would ask that any prison sentence is suspended.”
Judge Beverley Lunt, in passing sentence, said: “Women in particular trust taxi drivers and are entitled to feel safe when they get in a taxi.
“These undercover officers may have saved some innocent victim from being subject to a serious sexual assault or an extremely unpleasant incident.
“There is no explanation offered as to why you acted in the way you did and while the offence is serious, I can suspend an immediate custodial sentence,”
Iqbal was also banned from holding any kind of public service vehicle licence in the future.