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Unlicensed Taxi driver fined after illegally operating in Reading Published Date: 08/12/2023

AN UNLICENSED private hire driver, who was found to be illegally plying for hire in Reading, has been hit with financial penalties of over £900 and given eight penalty points on his licence.

Mr Adeel Soomro, 40, of Argyle Street, Reading, was found to be operating a private hire vehicle without a licence, in a controlled district, and without the correct insurance.

On 8 April 2023, Mr Soomro parked in a disabled bay on Oxford Road, an area known to Council licensing officers for drivers illegally plying for hire. Mr Soomro was approached by officers and agreed to take them to Tilehurst for £15 without a prior booking.

At Reading Magistrates Court on 10 November 2023, Mr Soomro was found guilty of plying for hire, and driving without insurance. He was ordered to pay a total of £960 in financial penalties and eight penalty points added to Mr Soomro’s driving licence.

Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said:

“This is another positive result for the Council’s licensing team, who work hard to ensure regulations are in force to protect Reading’s travelling public.

“Reading Borough Council will look to prosecute any driver caught Plying for Hire. Such illegal activity will not be tolerated, and our team of licensing officers will continue to maintain their vigilant enforcement activities.”

As the countdown to Christmas begins, Reading Council licensing officers have again stressed the dangers of using unlicensed private hire vehicles to partygoers. Residents are advised to only travel in a private hire vehicle that they have booked in advance or pick up a black cab, and to make sure the private hire or Hackney carriage licence plate is visible before beginning their journey.

They are also reminded not to be tempted by convenience, availability, or cheap fares, as unlicensed drivers have no safeguards in place, both for the individuals and for their journey.