Cab bosses plea for taxi fare hike

TAXI-users across Nuneaton and Bedworth will soon find out if fares are to rise by ten per cent.

Members of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s licensing committee are to meet on Monday to decide whether to give the green light to a request to hike the charges.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Taxi Association made a request to the panel, asking for the rise, which is the first in two years.

In a letter to the panel, the association states that there has been extensive price increases on the commodities the trade is reliant on, such as insurance and vehicle maintenance.

It also says that firms have had to absorb two increases in the minimum wage since the last price rise.

“We would respectfully ask for an early response to our proposal thereby assisting in easing the financial burden that we are experiencing at this time,” the letter concludes.

Following the request, a letter and questionnaire was sent to all 209 hackney carriage/private hire vehicle licence holders to gain their views.

There were 78 responses, 31 said they were not in favour of any increase, two were in favour of a rise but not ten per cent, and 45 were in favour of a ten per cent increase.

There were also letters supporting the ten per cent rise, and comments received from some of those not in favour of any increase.

These are included in the report for the licensing committee, which also includes comparisons to taxi fares in other authorities.

Currently in Nuneaton and Bedworth, the tariff for a one to two mile fare is £6.25, which is more expensive than nearby North Warwickshire, Coventry, Rugby, Hinckley and Stratford.

In Birmingham, the tariff for a one to two mile fare is £6.50, and the national average is £5.60.

Members of the committee, who are due to meet on Monday at 6pm, are being asked to decide whether to agree to the rise request.

It is understood that any variation to the fare scales has to be advertised and, if any objections are received, the committee must consider them. This could take two to three months.

Read more: http://www.nuneaton-news.co.uk/

 

Court backs council over unsafe private hire company decision

A Wolverhampton private hire firm that had its licence revoked by the city council due to serious safety concerns has lost its final appeal against the decision.

 

Westside Radio Cars, in Stafford Street, was stripped of its operating licence by Wolverhampton City Council’s Licensing Committee in October last year after officers discovered it was using unlicensed and uninsured vehicles.

The company then unsuccessfully contested the decision at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court in April this year.

And, after Westside appealed this, the Crown court on Friday (25 July, 2014) backed the authority’s original decision. This represented the last legal avenue the firm could pursue to try to overturn the Council’s decision to revoke the licence.

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Services, said: “We are very pleased that the courts have recognised the seriousness of this case.

“Ensuring the safety of the public is of paramount importance to us when we licence operators and drivers.

“We did not take this decision lightly. Licensing Services works closely with all businesses to support them and ensure they meet the relevant requirements.

“But in cases such as this where public safety is compromised we must take strong action, this has been recognised by the Courts.”

Westside was ordered to pay £6,000 costs.

Duo with 163 convictions jailed for robbing Scunthorpe taxi driver

 

Jailed: Andrew Suffill. Right, Zoe Robinson

TWO robbers who have racked up 163 convictions between them are back behind bars after targeting a Scunthorpe taxi driver.

The pair tried to extract money from the driver by saying they would make up allegations about him unless he handed over cash, but he refused and stood his ground, a court heard.

Andrew Suffill, 44, of Normanby Road, Scunthorpe, and Zoe Robinson, 30, of Cemetery Road, Scunthorpe, admitted robbery on January 25.

Gordon Stables, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that the taxi driver was working in Scunthorpe when Robinson hailed him and got in the front seat of his car.

Suffill got in behind and asked the driver what he was trying to do with his sister. They were not actually brother and sister.

The driver said he had not done anything, but Suffill demanded £20 and threatened to report him.

Robinson warned the driver to hand over the money because Suffill could get aggressive.

Both started shouting at him and he feared he was in danger.

He gave five £2 coins to Robinson in a bid to placate her, but she opened a central glove box and said: “Jackpot. Wallet.”

The driver grabbed the wallet before she could do so and, in an attempt to escape, he started to drive the taxi.

Robinson was thrown into the taxi while the door was still open. The driver kept his hand on the wallet, but later lost his grip on it and the car stalled.

Suffill and Robinson both grabbed the wallet as well as his phone.

Both left, but a police car appeared and the driver waved it down. An officer caught up with Suffill and detained him.

Robinson was later found hiding between a garden fence and a parked vehicle.

The court heard that Suffill had 109 convictions, including being jailed three times for robbery, and Robinson had 54 convictions.

Tom Ledden, mitigating, said there was an element of premeditation, but minimal violence was used during the “amateurish” incident and the victim was not injured.

Suffill, a former heroin addict, had a “pitiful and miserable upbringing” and he was encouraged to commit offences from a young age. He had a drink problem.

Mark Watterson, representing Robinson, said she had struggled with alcohol and drug addictions, but was motivated to tackle her problems. She had a daughter.

Judge David Tremberg told the pair: “Your victim was a taxi driver. He was providing a service to the public.

“The two of you hatched a plan to rob him. You were both part of this criminal joint enterprise and you went in to this with your eyes wide open.”

Suffill was jailed for two years and four months. Robinson was locked up for 20 months.

Read more: http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/

Taxi driver failed to secure passenger in wheelchair

A Peterborough taxi driver faces losing his licence after failing to secure an 89-year-old passenger in a wheelchair before overcharging them on a journey.

Malik Abid Hussain (43), of Reeves Way, Peterborough, appeared before Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday July 24 and pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to safely load, restrain and transport a wheelchair passenger. He also pleaded not guilty to failing to use his meter, which resulted in the customer being overcharged, but was found guilty at a trial.

The court heard that on October 8 last year Hussain used his Hackney carriage to pick up two passengers to go from a doctors’ surgery to a care home.

The 89-year-old wheelchair passenger was accompanied by his daughter.

The incident came to light when the daughter contacted the city council to confirm the correct procedure for loading a wheelchair. An investigation carried out by the city council’s licensing team came to the conclusion that Hussain had failed in his duty as a professional driver by not putting the wheelchair into the correct safe travelling position.

During the journey the daughter was forced to place her foot under the wheel of the chair to stop it from moving. In addition, although a fixed price had been given for the journey, the meter should have been used as per legislation and licensing conditions. Failure to use the meter resulted in the customer being overcharged.

Despite his not guilty pleas, Hussain was found guilty by the magistrates. He was fined £800 and ordered to pay £500 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

John Goodwin, lead officer in the investigation for Peterborough City Council’s taxi enforcement team, said: “All taxi drivers licensed by the council have a duty of care towards all their passengers. To treat a wheelchair user in this way endangered both passengers in the vehicle at the time. To further compound the matter they were then overcharged for this service. “We welcome the result and hope it serves as a reminder to all licensed taxi drivers that the protection of the travelling public is of paramount importance, and we will continue to deal severely with drivers who we believe are not fit and proper to transport members of the public.”

A decision will now be made concerning Hussain’s Hackney carriage drivers licence.

source: http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/

 

Clacton: Cabbies in plea to carry adverts

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Taxi driver Colin Bennett HARD-up cabbies in Clacton are pleading for the green light to put adverts on their taxis to drum up extra cash.

Tendring District Taxi Association has asked council licensing bosses to allow door advertising on all taxis and private hire vehicles licensed in the district.

The association says the move will boost income for drivers as well as help promote local businesses.

The council’s current policy bans advertising, but the move has been backed by the council’s tourism and marketing team, the town centre co-ordinator and the chairman of Clacton Town Centre Partnership.

Taxi driver Colin Bennett said: “We in the trade are in dire financial straits.

“I would like to propose advertising on our cab doors as a way to supplement our income.

“Advertising would be in good taste, with nothing untoward or offensive, for companies like everyday electrical stores and clothing shops.

“This would give us much needed revenue.

“Other areas allow advertising on taxi doors and I see no harm in it.”

The licensing committee will discuss the proposals before making a decision.

source: http://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/

 

Apr 23

National Taxi Association AGM & Conference 2014

The Annual General Meeting and Conference in 2014 will take place at the Brittannia Country House Hotel, Palatine Road, Didsbury, Manchester.

The format will be as follows;

Monday 27th October 2014

09:00 to 12:30; NTA Directors Meeting

14:00 to 17:00; Annual General Meeting

19:30hrs; NTA Chairman’s Dinner

Tuesday 28th October 2014

10:00 to 15:30 Conference

 

 

 23153493

 

 

 

Jul 30

Cab bosses plea for taxi fare hike

TAXI-users across Nuneaton and Bedworth will soon find out if fares are to rise by ten per cent.

Members of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s licensing committee are to meet on Monday to decide whether to give the green light to a request to hike the charges.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Taxi Association made a request to the panel, asking for the rise, which is the first in two years.

In a letter to the panel, the association states that there has been extensive price increases on the commodities the trade is reliant on, such as insurance and vehicle maintenance.

It also says that firms have had to absorb two increases in the minimum wage since the last price rise.

“We would respectfully ask for an early response to our proposal thereby assisting in easing the financial burden that we are experiencing at this time,” the letter concludes.

Following the request, a letter and questionnaire was sent to all 209 hackney carriage/private hire vehicle licence holders to gain their views.

There were 78 responses, 31 said they were not in favour of any increase, two were in favour of a rise but not ten per cent, and 45 were in favour of a ten per cent increase.

There were also letters supporting the ten per cent rise, and comments received from some of those not in favour of any increase.

These are included in the report for the licensing committee, which also includes comparisons to taxi fares in other authorities.

Currently in Nuneaton and Bedworth, the tariff for a one to two mile fare is £6.25, which is more expensive than nearby North Warwickshire, Coventry, Rugby, Hinckley and Stratford.

In Birmingham, the tariff for a one to two mile fare is £6.50, and the national average is £5.60.

Members of the committee, who are due to meet on Monday at 6pm, are being asked to decide whether to agree to the rise request.

It is understood that any variation to the fare scales has to be advertised and, if any objections are received, the committee must consider them. This could take two to three months.

Read more: http://www.nuneaton-news.co.uk/

 

Jul 28

Court backs council over unsafe private hire company decision

A Wolverhampton private hire firm that had its licence revoked by the city council due to serious safety concerns has lost its final appeal against the decision.

 

Westside Radio Cars, in Stafford Street, was stripped of its operating licence by Wolverhampton City Council’s Licensing Committee in October last year after officers discovered it was using unlicensed and uninsured vehicles.

The company then unsuccessfully contested the decision at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court in April this year.

And, after Westside appealed this, the Crown court on Friday (25 July, 2014) backed the authority’s original decision. This represented the last legal avenue the firm could pursue to try to overturn the Council’s decision to revoke the licence.

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Services, said: “We are very pleased that the courts have recognised the seriousness of this case.

“Ensuring the safety of the public is of paramount importance to us when we licence operators and drivers.

“We did not take this decision lightly. Licensing Services works closely with all businesses to support them and ensure they meet the relevant requirements.

“But in cases such as this where public safety is compromised we must take strong action, this has been recognised by the Courts.”

Westside was ordered to pay £6,000 costs.

Jul 28

Duo with 163 convictions jailed for robbing Scunthorpe taxi driver

 

Jailed: Andrew Suffill. Right, Zoe Robinson

TWO robbers who have racked up 163 convictions between them are back behind bars after targeting a Scunthorpe taxi driver.

The pair tried to extract money from the driver by saying they would make up allegations about him unless he handed over cash, but he refused and stood his ground, a court heard.

Andrew Suffill, 44, of Normanby Road, Scunthorpe, and Zoe Robinson, 30, of Cemetery Road, Scunthorpe, admitted robbery on January 25.

Gordon Stables, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that the taxi driver was working in Scunthorpe when Robinson hailed him and got in the front seat of his car.

Suffill got in behind and asked the driver what he was trying to do with his sister. They were not actually brother and sister.

The driver said he had not done anything, but Suffill demanded £20 and threatened to report him.

Robinson warned the driver to hand over the money because Suffill could get aggressive.

Both started shouting at him and he feared he was in danger.

He gave five £2 coins to Robinson in a bid to placate her, but she opened a central glove box and said: “Jackpot. Wallet.”

The driver grabbed the wallet before she could do so and, in an attempt to escape, he started to drive the taxi.

Robinson was thrown into the taxi while the door was still open. The driver kept his hand on the wallet, but later lost his grip on it and the car stalled.

Suffill and Robinson both grabbed the wallet as well as his phone.

Both left, but a police car appeared and the driver waved it down. An officer caught up with Suffill and detained him.

Robinson was later found hiding between a garden fence and a parked vehicle.

The court heard that Suffill had 109 convictions, including being jailed three times for robbery, and Robinson had 54 convictions.

Tom Ledden, mitigating, said there was an element of premeditation, but minimal violence was used during the “amateurish” incident and the victim was not injured.

Suffill, a former heroin addict, had a “pitiful and miserable upbringing” and he was encouraged to commit offences from a young age. He had a drink problem.

Mark Watterson, representing Robinson, said she had struggled with alcohol and drug addictions, but was motivated to tackle her problems. She had a daughter.

Judge David Tremberg told the pair: “Your victim was a taxi driver. He was providing a service to the public.

“The two of you hatched a plan to rob him. You were both part of this criminal joint enterprise and you went in to this with your eyes wide open.”

Suffill was jailed for two years and four months. Robinson was locked up for 20 months.

Read more: http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/

Jul 28

Taxi driver failed to secure passenger in wheelchair

A Peterborough taxi driver faces losing his licence after failing to secure an 89-year-old passenger in a wheelchair before overcharging them on a journey.

Malik Abid Hussain (43), of Reeves Way, Peterborough, appeared before Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday July 24 and pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to safely load, restrain and transport a wheelchair passenger. He also pleaded not guilty to failing to use his meter, which resulted in the customer being overcharged, but was found guilty at a trial.

The court heard that on October 8 last year Hussain used his Hackney carriage to pick up two passengers to go from a doctors’ surgery to a care home.

The 89-year-old wheelchair passenger was accompanied by his daughter.

The incident came to light when the daughter contacted the city council to confirm the correct procedure for loading a wheelchair. An investigation carried out by the city council’s licensing team came to the conclusion that Hussain had failed in his duty as a professional driver by not putting the wheelchair into the correct safe travelling position.

During the journey the daughter was forced to place her foot under the wheel of the chair to stop it from moving. In addition, although a fixed price had been given for the journey, the meter should have been used as per legislation and licensing conditions. Failure to use the meter resulted in the customer being overcharged.

Despite his not guilty pleas, Hussain was found guilty by the magistrates. He was fined £800 and ordered to pay £500 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

John Goodwin, lead officer in the investigation for Peterborough City Council’s taxi enforcement team, said: “All taxi drivers licensed by the council have a duty of care towards all their passengers. To treat a wheelchair user in this way endangered both passengers in the vehicle at the time. To further compound the matter they were then overcharged for this service. “We welcome the result and hope it serves as a reminder to all licensed taxi drivers that the protection of the travelling public is of paramount importance, and we will continue to deal severely with drivers who we believe are not fit and proper to transport members of the public.”

A decision will now be made concerning Hussain’s Hackney carriage drivers licence.

source: http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/

 

Jul 28

Clacton: Cabbies in plea to carry adverts

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Taxi driver Colin Bennett HARD-up cabbies in Clacton are pleading for the green light to put adverts on their taxis to drum up extra cash.

Tendring District Taxi Association has asked council licensing bosses to allow door advertising on all taxis and private hire vehicles licensed in the district.

The association says the move will boost income for drivers as well as help promote local businesses.

The council’s current policy bans advertising, but the move has been backed by the council’s tourism and marketing team, the town centre co-ordinator and the chairman of Clacton Town Centre Partnership.

Taxi driver Colin Bennett said: “We in the trade are in dire financial straits.

“I would like to propose advertising on our cab doors as a way to supplement our income.

“Advertising would be in good taste, with nothing untoward or offensive, for companies like everyday electrical stores and clothing shops.

“This would give us much needed revenue.

“Other areas allow advertising on taxi doors and I see no harm in it.”

The licensing committee will discuss the proposals before making a decision.

source: http://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/

 

Jul 28

Campaigners fight plans to relax taxi rules

Campaigners opposed to the Taxi Deregulation Bill.

CAMPAIGNERS are fighting plans to relax rules governing who is allowed to drive taxis in Hampshire.

Charities, cabbies, students and police in Southampton say relaxing the rules on who can drive private hire vehicles could put people at risk of sexual assault or robbery.

As previously reported, the changes under the Taxi Deregulation Bill, which are currently going through the House of Lords, would allow family members and friends of licensed drivers to drive marked private hire vehicles.

The Government says the plans, which would scrap current rules only allowing licensed drivers to drive the vehicles, would free many families from the need to run a second car and save money.

But Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes has already opposed the plans alongside 18 of his colleagues from across the country.

And now a new campaign is being launched in Southampton to convince Liberal Democrat transport minister Baroness Kramer – who has responsibility for steering the new Bill through the House of Lords – to scrap the plans.

Safeguards Hampshire Constabulary’s community safety and licensing inspector Justin Roberts said: “The existing legislation puts safeguards in place around those transporting members of the public. If these are reduced or removed under the Bill in its current form we do run the risk of seeing increases in cases of sexual assault and robbery.”

Tara Doel, from Southampton Rape Crisis, added: “It will no longer be possible to know whether a person driving a cab is licensed to do so or simply driving someone else’s vehicle, making people reluctant to use cabs as a trusted form of transport and potentially increasing the risk of sexual violence.”

Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen, Rowenna Davis, has coordinated the campaign. She said: “With two universities and an active night-time economy, we are particularly worried about women travelling alone late at night.”

And some cabbies in Southampton are also backing the campaign.

Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North Caroline Nokes, pictured left, was on the Deregulation Bill Committee which considered the plans earlier this year.

She said the law change would bring the rest of the country into line with London, and that if a driver was caught without a registered private hire licence while transporting a passenger, the driver must show they were not using the taxi for use as a hire vehicle.

She added: “That added safeguard should meet the concerns expressed about safety and enforcement.”

source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/

Jul 27

Refuse a fare? Scunthorpe taxi drivers told they’ll get 8-12 points on their licence

 

Concerns: John Fleming, owner of Triple A Taxis and chairman of the new Scunthorpe branch of the National Taxi Association

SCUNTHORPE cabbies have voiced their anger over new rules that they say could put them in danger.

As part of their Licensing Taxi Policy, North Lincolnshire Council has suggested drivers could receive eight to 12 points on their Hackney licence if they refuse fares “without a reasonable excuse” – with 12 points meaning they could lose their licence.

Now drivers have set up a new association to challenge the rules.

John Fleming, owner of Triple A Taxis and chairman of the new Scunthorpe branch of the National Taxi Association, said the drivers objected to the proposals.

He said: “At a licensing committee meeting we were told that we had to take fares no matter what and if we refuse for any reason we will be prosecuted.

“What happens if I get someone in my taxi who is threatening? I’m worried about my safety. Where is the safety for the drivers?

“There has been no consultation with us on this.”

At a meeting this week, taxi drivers spoke of being verbally and physically abused and losing money because of people running off without paying.

One driver, Mahmoud Asaduzzaman, said: “Someone got into my car and said they did not have any money. I drove him around for about an hour and a half while he went from house to house saying he would get the money, but he didn’t. I called the police, but they said it was a civil matter so I ended up with no fare.”

Another, Dhilwar Hussain, said: “I refused to take somebody because they were too drunk and they smashed the window of my cab. Now the council is saying we can’t refuse fares.”

Another driver, Pete Hayre, said: “There are a lot of female drivers in Scunthorpe and it’s putting their lives in danger.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The points system will only change how the council can take action against taxi drivers. It is a middle ground rather than drivers getting prosecuted straightaway for an offence.

“National legislation states that it is a criminal offence to refuse to carry a passenger unless they have an infectious disease, have an animal with them (except if it is a service or assistance animal) or if someone is deceased.

“However it is at the council’s discretion what action is taken.

“Unfortunately, the council has found that there is a need to deal with drivers who refuse to carry passengers as we have received a number of complaints.

“Enforcement action has taken place in the past and people have been refused for no other reason than the journey was too short.”

Councillor Keith Vickers, who chairs the licensing committee, said he can see the difficulties, but taxi drivers cannot refuse to take fares.

He said: “If there is a reasonable reason for not taking a fare this will be considered. Every case will be considered on its own. If we receive a complaint we will look into it.”

The new rules have been introduced weeks after the Telegraph revealed passengers’ concerns that drivers were refusing to take them home because the journeys were short.

Read more: http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/

 

Jul 25

Dad and son cabbies jailed for drunken passenger debit card scam

Taxi driver Michael Clark at Liverpool Crown Court

Raymond and Michael Clark were working as part of a wider conspiracy

Dad and son cabbies who fleeced drunken passengers in a “remarkably simple” debit card scam were jailed.

Raymond and Michael Clark were part of a wider con where cab drivers would target vulnerable customers – often visitors to the city – and fleece them of their cash cards and valuables.

They would demand debit cards be handed over to them for payment and while their intoxicated victims waited they switched them with fake cards and passed them back.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how they would note the PIN number being entered and later use those confidential details to withdraw money from cash machines.

The scam also saw people taken to cash machines where a similar con was carried out.

The pair admitted stealing £7,265 between January 2012 and February last year.

Some 27 victims were affected with Raymond found in possession of 19 debit cards upon his arrest.

Judge Mark Brown condemned them both for breaching the trust of their customers through the “remarkable simple and straightforward” ruse.

He told them: “You were working as licensed hackney taxi drivers in the city centre. As such, you owed a duty of care to your passengers. But you targeted individuals who were very drunk and stole their bank cards, mobile phones and money.

“Many of the passengers were visitors to Liverpool and were unfamiliar with the area. You have not only tarnished the reputation of taxi drivers but have also affected the reputation of the city.

“This city enjoys a fine reputation. When visitors come to the city and are treated in this disgraceful fashion it is bound to have an effect on the reputation the city enjoys.

“Your victims were vulnerable individuals who were relying on you, relying on your integrity and honesty.”

The court heard how one victim was left “embarrassed” after being fleeced of all his money while on a stag weekend in Liverpool.

Another victims, who lost £1,300 in assets including a mobile phone that was stolen, spoke in depth of the lasting impact of the crime.

In a statement, he said: “I no longer trust taxi drivers and have not used black cabs for two years.

“The impact has resulted in an entire lifestyle change. My faith in human behaviour is at an all-time low.”

Raymond Clark, 61, was said to be more heavily involved than his son, 38, who admitted being involved in three specific incidents.

The court heard they were working as part of a wider conspiracy.

Simon Driver, defending, Raymond Clark, said he was not the architect of the scam and was remorseful.

He told the court: “He is a man who has showed great kindness to others over the years and is held in high regard in his social circle.”

Jeremy Hawthorne, defending Michael Clark, said financial pressures and drug use led to his involvement.

He said his client had worked to a high-standard as a taxi driver over many years.

Raymond Clark, of Stormont Road, Garston, admitted conspiracy to steal and two charges of having counterfeit currency totalling £100. He was jailed for 21 months.

Michael Clark, of Rickman Street, Kirkdale, was jailed for 10 months having pleaded to conspiracy to steal.

Both men can no longer drive taxis.

More than 30 thefts from hackney cabs linked to scam

AN extensive police probe revealed more than 30 thefts from hackney cabs in Liverpool linked to the scam.

Victims were from all around the UK with a Swedish tourist also affected.

Detective Sergeant Jed Ferguson, said: “In 2012 we were made aware of a number of instances of passengers of a black Hackney cab having had their bank card swapped with another person’s bank card. The incidents generally involve victims who have consumed a lot of alcohol and when they have got in the taxi they have asked to stop at a cash machine, or paid by card in the taxi.

”When the victims stopped at the cash machine the taxi driver accompanied them to a cash point and put the card in on their behalf and withdrew the cash, the card was then given back to the victim, and generally it was only the next day that they discovered they had actually been given a card belonging to another person.

“Other frauds took place through the use of a chip and pin machine in the cab, the victim hands over the card to taxi driver and puts the pin in the machine and again when the card is given back it is not the card belonging to that person.

“Throughout these incidents the offenders communicated with each other, via their respective Bluetooth mobile phone headsets, to target individuals, swap stolen debit cards, swap pin numbers and access accounts.

“Our investigation led us to arrest and subsequently charge both Raymond and Michael Clark with these offences.”

DS Ferguson added: “I would also like to take this opportunity to remind people to take care of themselves and their possessions when out socialising.

“One of the most important things to remember is when using your ATM card be aware of your surroundings and look for any suspicious persons or activity near the ATM machine. If you see anything that looks suspicious, go to another machine or return later. Never let anyone else use your card.”

source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/

 

Jul 25

Ireland: Taxi driver who snapped and ran over fare evader escapes jail

A taxi driver who “snapped” and ran down a passenger who ran away without paying the fare has been given a suspended sentence and disqualified from driving for four years.

David Ryan (56) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Eoin Daly at Carysfort Park, Blackrock on April 7, 2011.

Garda Geraldine McManigan told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that Mr Daly suffered fractures to his ankle which have affected his ability to play rugby at senior level in university.

Medical reports stated that his injuries left him with a 20 per cent greater risk of developing arthritis but that this should have shown up in a two year period after the injury and has not developed. Mr Daly was on crutches for months but has since gone back to playing rugby.

In his victim impact report he said he accepts he was wrong to run away from the taxi and was embarrassed. He suffered flashbacks afterwards and has spent €4,492 on physiotherapy.

Ryan, formerly of Glenfield Park, Clondalkin Dublin picked up Mr Daly and another passenger at around 3am. He drove them to the Carysfort Park area where the two passengers ran from the taxi without paying the fare.

The taxi driver drove his car onto a footpath and across the park, swerving from side to side. Mr Daly said Ryan was driving so fast that the other man had to jump into a garden to avoid being hit.

A witness from a nearby house described seeing one man running across the green with a car “in hot pursuit” and said the driver was trying to block the men off by repeatedly driving in front of them.

The car hit Mr Daly and he fell to the ground. Ryan got out of this taxi and stood over him and started gesticulating and arguing with him about the fare before driving off.

Gardaí arrested Ryan two weeks later and he admitted there had been an incident. He denied knocking the victim down and said Mr Daly had fallen down.

Steven Dixon BL, defending, said his client is a father of four who has worked as a taxi driver for twenty years.

During this time he has been abused, attacked and assaulted and in 2010 a man smashed him in the face with a can in order to avoid paying, counsel said.

He said his client was under severe financial difficulties at the time, with a crippling mortgage and credit card debt. He has just sold his house and is staying with his sister in Kildare.

Counsel said Ryan snapped on the night and did something dangerous to get his fare. “He is saddened and disgusted with himself. There is no excuse,” said Mr Dixon.

Judge Patricia Ryan imposed a three year sentence which she suspended in full. She noted he had been under great financial and family stress but had €5,000 in court as a token of remorse.

She noted his remorse and apology and accepted the offence was out of character. She added that the mandatory four year disqualification would affect his ability to work

source: http://www.sundayworld.com/

 

 

Jul 24

Action on people making off without paying for taxis

 

Action on people making off without paying for taxis

TAXI drivers and police officers in Amesbury are working together to tackle the number of people making off without paying for their fares.

Police are reminding people, especially those using taxis after nights out, that refusing to pay for a taxi fare is a criminal offence which could result in a conviction.

They have launched a campaign with local taxi drivers to raise awareness following an increase of the issue.

Sgt Ricky Lee, from the Amesbury Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “We are concerned that taxi drivers feel vulnerable during the night time economy – that matters to us. The idea behind the campaign is to highlight to people that it is a serious offence to make off without paying.”

Taxi driver Dave McHugh said many drivers have stopped working at night so they don’t have to deal with the problem.

“It’s been more of an issue with the economy as it is,” he said. “The problem has always been there but the recession has made it a lot worse. Fuel prices have also gone up for us so that pushes taxi prices up as well. Pennies are tighter and while people can still afford to go out, they argue the cost of a taxi.”

There will be more police officers out on the streets as part of the campaign, as well as posters displayed around the town and in taxis.

Sgt Lee said: “We want the taxi drivers to know that we take them seriously. We can’t do our job without taxi drivers, it is about partnership working. If taxi drivers don’t come out to move people on from outside pubs and clubs then we have people loitering in the streets, and that creates an atmosphere for residents and there is more likely to be antisocial behaviour.” While reported antisocial behaviour in the town is down by 40 per cent, Sgt Lee said it is still a particular problem in the early hours of the morning when pubs close.

Mr McHugh said: “We are all after the same thing: a better, safer, hassle free environment for us to work in.”

source: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/

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