Manchester – An unlicensed driver who was caught dropping off passengers in a private hire vehicle before giving false details to an investigating officer has been ordered to pay £1,500.
Kevin Hamilton, aged 54, of Latrigg Crescent in Middleton, was found guilty of driving without a private hire drivers licence, driving with no insurance and obstructing an authorised officer, after he failed to turn up to a court hearing on April 8.
He was fined a total of £900, given six penalty points on his driving licence and ordered to pay a £603 contribution toward prosecution costs.
A Manchester City Council licensing officer saw Hamilton’s Rochdale licensed private hire car dropping off a passenger at Piccadilly train station’s drop off area during a routine operation in January, and asked to see his licence.
Hamilton said he’d left it at home but gave the officer his badge number and some personal details.
But when the officer contacted Rochdale Borough Council’s licensing department for confirmation, they said they could find no record of Hamilton holding a current licence with them.
When the officer questioned Hamilton further on the scene, he claimed he had been recently licensed with Rochdale, but his licence had expired just before Christmas and he hadn’t been able to renew it.
When the officer went on to carry out further checks on Hamilton, he discovered that the driver had given a false address and false date of birth and had not held a licence with Rochdale since 2011.
Hamilton was tracked down to his correct address and invited to attend interviews to explain himself but failed to attend any of them.
A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “Drivers who pick up passengers despite not having a licence are acting without any regard for the safety of their passengers, as these journeys are not insured. In addition these drivers have not been subjected to the rigorous background checks that licensed drivers are required to undergo. These checks are carried out to ensure amongst other things that a driver is entitled to drive a motor vehicle and do not have serious convictions or medical conditions that would put passengers’ safety at risk.
“Our officers are routinely on the look-out for drivers who break the law and this sentence demonstrates that the courts – along with ourselves – take these offences incredibly seriously.”