Cotswold District Council has recently successfully prosecuted 2 men for operating a taxi service without a private hire licence – all thanks to a tip off from a member of the public.
Recent reports indicate that Cotswold District Council’s Counter Fraud Unit made a taxi booking with Cotswold & Burford Private Hire, Harry Eva’s company, back in December 2019 and a driver, Andrew Whitehead, was despatched to them – but he didn’t possess a proper drivers licence and was driving an unlicensed car.
Councillor Andy Doherty, Cabinet Member for Licensing within Cotswold District Council, stated: “I would like to give my thanks to the member of the public who alerted us to this issue.
“As a Council, we take any fraud extremely seriously and our Counter Fraud Officers will fully investigate all allegations of fraud and abuse to make sure we continue to protect the public.
“Taxi firms have had a really tough time over the last 12 months due to the pandemic and the crucial work that our Licensing and Counter Fraud team carry out helps to ensure that only licensed and safe vehicles are operating in and around our district.
“I would personally encourage anyone with any concerns around fraud and abuse to report it to our Counter Fraud Unit.”
A spokesperson from the council said “The successful prosecution was only made possible with thanks to a complaint raised by a member of the public to the Licensing team at the council.
“Cotswold District Council maintains strict checks that licence holders undergo and a rigorous application process to continually ensure that public safety is not jeopardised in any way.”
Appearing at Cirencester Magistrates’ Court on 10th May 2021, Mr. Whitehead, 70 and Mr. Eva, 63, were found guilty of all offences in their absence and were both ordered to pay £552 in fines and costs.