Man prosecuted for having fake taxi badge
A man has been prosecuted for possessing a counterfeit taxi license after an investigation sparked by eagle-eyed South Cambridgeshire District Council officers.
The authority’s licensing team spotted the fake badge after a scanned copy was submitted by Thames Valley Police for checking during a routine vehicle stop in Buckinghamshire back in February.
National taxi licensing rules mean drivers of Hackney Carriages, that are flagged down on the street, can be licensed in one area and ply for trade in others.
The Council had already made Thames Valley Police aware of the possibility that a fraudulent South Cambridgeshire license was being used in their area, due to a previous tip off.
When licensing officers confirmed to Police that the document being checked was indeed counterfeit, the driver, Mohammed Hanif from High Wycombe, was arrested.
In October, following a trial at High Wycombe Magistrates Court, 38-year-old Mr Hanif was found guilty of possessing and article for use in fraud, and must now carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, and pay Crown Court costs of £385.
The fake hackney carriage badge was seized and destroyed.
During the investigation, several properties were searched and Council officers worked with police at a registered taxi office to check driver badges and car licence plates.
A second fake South Cambridgeshire badge was seized as evidence, along with revoked plates from another council from outside the area.
A South Cambridgeshire vehicle plate was also seized, and a Council suspension notice issued, after police checks showed that the car no longer had the correct insurance to carry paying passengers.
Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, said: “This sentence ends a year-long investigation that was sparked by the vigilance of our officers.
“We have exacting standards that drivers must meet to be granted a license for very good reason – because keeping people safe is our priority.
“Mr Hanif was fooling his passengers who had put their trust in him and believed they were getting into a properly licensed taxi.
“Our officers are constantly alert to this type of deception and we carry out frequent spot checks.
“Most of our local taxi drivers work hard and offer an excellent service. However, if anyone does have a concern about a vehicle or driver I’d urge them to get in touch.”
The Council’s register of licensed taxi operators, drivers and vehicles is publicly available on this part of our website.