Private hire driver guilty of operating illegally

PR2151/JB/MF - 26/02/2018

Mid Sussex District Council has successfully prosecuted a private hire driver who was operating illegally in the District.

Mr Raja Masood from London Road Crawley was prosecuted for plying for hire without a Hackney licence, which meant his vehicle was uninsured. Mr Masood was found guilty at Brighton Magistrates Court on 8 January 2018.

Mr Masood is a Private Hire driver licensed by Wealden District Council. As a private hire driver he can only take passengers that are pre-booked, otherwise he is plying for hire and his vehicle insurance would not be valid for that trip. A Mid Sussex District Council Licensing Officer witnessed Mr Masood dropping off a customer at East Grinstead Railway Station; he then picked up another member of the public. Enquires by the Licensing Team revealed that this customer was not pre-booked.

Mr Masood was interviewed and admitted that the passenger was not pre-booked. He was prosecuted by Mid Sussex District Council, six penalty points were added to his Driving Licence and the Council was awarded total costs of £1500. “Mid Sussex Council takes passenger safety very seriously,” said Councillor Norman Webster, Cabinet Member for Community. “The laws and licensing standards that we enforce are in place to ensure that passengers are safe.

“People should be aware that if they use private hire vehicles without booking in advance then the vehicle will not be insured if an accident occurs.

“Each vehicle is required to have its licence on display and drivers invariably carry identification, which passengers can inspect. Residents can help by checking the taxi or private hire vehicle they are using to make sure it is fully licensed by the District Council. If you suspect something is wrong, contact our Licensing Team on 01444 477344”.

ENDS