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Taxi driver disqualified after illegal Download pickup

Published: Wed 8 January, 2020

A private hire taxi driver has been banned from driving after inadvertently picking up two enforcement officers at last year’s Download festival.

The successful North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) prosecution comes after an operation at the music festival held at Donington Park and attracts around 80,000 people each year.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard how two members of the licensing team from NWLDC were at the final day of the festival on Sunday 16 June monitoring drivers and conducting test purchases.

The two officers were stood at the coned off ‘no loading’ area near the pedestrian entrance to the transport hub on the A453 when Nasar Hussain’s taxi pulled over to approach them.

Private hire vehicles must by law be pre-booked, but Hussain gestured to the licensing officers and asked them if they needed a taxi.

The officers agreed and asked Hussain to pull over shortly after their journey began, where the driver was cautioned and advised of the plying for hire offence that had been committed.

A private hire vehicle is not insured to carry passengers that don’t have a booking, making the offence a serious matter and putting passengers at increased risk.

Hussain, 31, of Lennox Road, Stoke on Trent, and who was licensed by Stoke on Trent City Council, pled guilty ahead of the hearing on Wednesday 18 December.

He was given six points on his driving licence which led to a disqualification from driving of six months due to points already accumulated. 

Hussain was also fined £240 and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £30. 

Councillor Andrew Woodman, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Private hire drivers are fully aware of the law and that picking passengers up without a booking puts the customer in an incredibly vulnerable position, and voids their insurance.

“Our enforcement officers regularly conduct test purchases at big events like Download, but also in our town centres, and cases like this one show we won’t tolerate this offence. This driver has lost his driving licence as a result.

“People can help us by not flagging down private hire taxis in the street. Pre-book your journeys or head to an official taxi rank and don’t put yourself in a difficult situation.”

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