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21/07/2004

DoE issue illegal taxi warning

The DoE has issued a warning against anyone trying to pass themselves off as a licensed taxi driver without the necessary paper work following a similar case yesterday when a Belfast man was fined a total of £1,500 and received a two-year driving ban for offences relating to operating an illegal taxi.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates Courthouse on Tuesday, Gerard McKenna, of 15 Benares Street, Belfast, pleaded guilty to three offences of operating a taxi without being the holder of a taxi driver’s licence, having no Public Service Vehicle licence or no insurance for the vehicle contrary to the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981.

Mr McKenna was observed by officers from the Driver & Vehicle Testing Agency’s Taxi Enforcement Team operating his Vauxhall Astra car as a taxi in the vicinity of the Odyssey Arena on the evening of 12 June 2003.

A short time later his car was stopped by police and during an inspection a concealed operational two-way taxi radio was discovered.

A DOE Spokesperson said: "This case highlights the need for the public to exercise caution when using taxis. Northern Ireland taxi drivers are required to wear a taxi driver’s identity badge, conspicuously on their person whilst on duty and their vehicle must be appropriately licensed. If a passenger fails to ensure that a vehicle and driver are properly licensed they are compromising their own safety and well-being.

"Combating this type of illegal activity will remain the focus of the Agency’s Taxi Enforcement Team. This illegal activity not only impacts on the livelihood of every legitimate taxi operator in Northern Ireland but represents a serious compromise of road safety, and puts the safety and well-being of passengers at risk."

(MB)

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