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Private hire driver hit with illegal fare court fine

A private hire driver has been fined in court over an illegal fare pick-up in Middlesbrough.
Haetham Majid Taha, of Parliament Street, Stockton, admitted driving without motor insurance when he appeared before Teesside Magistrates on Tuesday, May 8.
The 33-year-old was fined £120, with £194 costs and a £30 victim surcharge. 
The case followed an operation in Middlesbrough last November when Council officers flagged down the Stockton Council-licensed private hire vehicle on Acklam Road.
Taha agreed to take the officers to the Sporting Lodge Hotel, for an agreed £5 fare.
The illegal plying for hire invalidated the driver’s motor insurance as the journey had not been pre-booked through a licensed private hire operator.  
In addition to the court fine, Mr Taha’s driving licence was endorsed with six penalty points. No separate penalty was imposed for plying for hire. 
In mitigation Mr Taha’s solicitor suggested he was unaware that he was unable to ply for hire.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Health and Social Care, said: “We take safety and welfare of the taxi travelling public extremely seriously, and that’s why we take robust enforcement action against those who put passengers at risk by flouting the law. 
“We are fully committed to ensuring that all operators, vehicles and drivers are properly licensed and that they operate within the law.”

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