Taxi driver made nearly 400 trips without insurance

A taxi driver was banned from the roads after carrying out 382 trips without insurance.

Father-of-one Darren Hickling did the work although his cabbie’s licence had been suspended by Gedling Borough Council, a court heard.

When told he could not drive for six months, he told Nottingham magistrates: “I have got a problem. I did an airport run and came straight to court.

“The car is in the car park. I have not got someone to fetch it.”

Presiding magistrate Deborah White told him: “You will have to find someone to help you with that.

“You need to understand very clearly if you were to drive on a public road, you would commit an offence of driving while disqualified and that is an imprisonable offence.

“Please don’t drive,” added Ms White, who sat with two colleagues. Hickling was fined £600 and must pay the £550 council costs and a £60 government surcharge.

He admitted four counts of driving without insurance on December 31, January 5, 8 and 25. Hickling also pleaded guilty to using a hackney carriage without a licence between December 30 and January 26.

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Hickling of Wendling Gardens, Bestwood Park asked to be excused a ban, saying it would cause “exceptional hardship.” He told JPs that he needs to keep working as a cabbie to meet living expenses and look after his son.

“I could be homeless because I have a private landlord who would not accept DHS payments. It is just cash for him.

“I would not be able to afford food for myself,” he added. But the magistrates said there were no grounds for excusing the ban.

Hannah Cash, prosecuting, said Hickling was issued with a licence in February last year. This covered taxis and private hire work.

On December 8, he was called before the council’s Licensing Committee “after a complaint regarding his conduct towards a civil enforcement officer.

“He didn’t appeal and the suspension started on December 30 to January 26. He was made aware of the suspension and on January 4 called the council enforcement officer to say he had handed in his badge at reception.

“On February 24, the council received a further complaint regarding Mr Hickling’s conduct from a licensing enforcement officer from Broxtowe Borough Council,” said Mrs Cash.

When checks were made with a taxi firm, they said he began working for them on December 2.

“He undertook 382 jobs during the suspension and never informed them of the suspension. During the suspension, he drove members of the public while uninsured.

“He was aware of the suspension and took a conscious decision to drive anyway. He was driving the public for hire and was undertaking over 300 bookings.

“It was not practical to prosecute every journey,” said Mrs Cash. Checks with his insurance company indicated that they would not provide cover if they had known he had no taxi licence, she added.