Second Ipswich taxi driver taken to court for smoking in his vehicle

Cab driver caught smoking in his car

Cab driver caught smoking in his car - Credit: PA

A second Ipswich taxi driver is paying the price today after being taken to court for smoking in his vehicle.

Ian Potter, of Waltham Close, must pay fines and costs totalling £305 after pleading guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court to smoking in a smoke-free place.

Six months ago fellow taxi driver Andrew Slinn was also convicted of the same offence for the second time.

Potter has been licensed as a private hire driver with the borough council since June 2013.

At around 2.25pm on December 3 last year a council enforcement officer was walking along Ipswich’s Grafton Way towards the Waterfront.

He noticed two cars with private hire licence plates next to each other on the edge of the car park at Cardinal Park.

As the officer drew level with the rear of the vehicles he could smell a strong odour of tobacco smoke. The officer noticed the occupant of a silver/grey car was sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle with the window wound down.

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His right arm was hanging down outside of the car door holding what appeared to be a lit cigarette.

When the officer introduced himself he saw the driver was no longer holding anything in his hand, but a smoking cigarette was on the ground in the gap between the two vehicles.

The officer asked Potter, who was the driver of the car, if he had just dropped the cigarette and he replied that he had.

Potter was asked to pick it up and warned it was not only an offence to smoke inside taxis and private hire vehicles, but it was also to throw cigarettes on the ground.

Potter was said to have told the officer that it was a “fair cop”.

In November last year Andrew Slinn was prosecuted at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £520 after he was caught smoking for the third time in his vehicle.

The 62-year-old, of Swansea Avenue, Ipswich, was warned about the offence in 2011 and then convicted of breaking the law for a second time in 2013.

Following Potter’s hearing a spokesman for the borough council said: “It is regrettable that this case has had to come to court, but the law is very clear and we will not tolerate drivers flouting it by smoking in their taxis.”