Man guilty of running illegal taxi firm

A SUFFOLK man has been convicted of operating an illegal taxi service.

Lizzie Parry

A SUFFOLK man has been convicted of operating an illegal taxi service.

Peter Baker, of Windmill Hill, Capel St Mary, was found guilty of running a private hire vehicle service under the name Bentley Chauffeurs without an operator's licence.

Babergh District Council said Baker - who did not attend the hearing - was fined �750 by District Judge David Cooper at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court in Ipswich, on March 11.


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He was also ordered to pay �420 costs and a �15 victim surcharge, according to the local authority.

A four month investigation by Babergh District Council's environmental protection team uncovered a business arrangement between the defendant and an unwitting Felixstowe company to regularly use the services of Bentley Chauffeurs.

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On June 18, 2008 a booking was intercepted by police and the court heard Baker was not authorised to act as a private hire operator as he had no licence and that the driver and vehicle were also unlicensed.

The driver, Gary Mills, of Connaught Road, Clacton-on-Sea, pleaded guilty to charges of being unlicensed as a private hire driver and not having the relevant licence for the vehicle.

He was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay �100 costs.

At the time of the offence Baker was advertising under a number of trading names, including Bentley Chauffeurs, E.T.S and A.T.S. of Windmill Hill, Capel St Mary.

James Buckingham, principal environmental protection officer with Babergh District Council, said: “There are public safety issues associated with unlicensed taxi operations. The council is responsible for regulating hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.

“In cases such as this, all the safety measures we have in place are bypassed and the council is unable to check that vehicles are safe and drivers are suitable or that the proper insurance is in place.

“This council will seek to prosecute any individual who flouts the law by operating without the appropriate licences.”

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