Swansea private hire operator fined a second time for employing unlicensed drivers

A PRIVATE hire operator has been prosecuted for a second occasion for licensing offences, including employing unlicensed drivers.

Matthew Benjamin, operator of MCB Executive Travel in Swansea, pleaded guilty at Brecon Magistrates Court to five charges, after being found on four occasions to be employing unlicensed drivers to undertake hirings, as well as failing to produce his private hire operator records as required.

It follows a prosecution for similar offences earlier this year.

The prosecutions were both brought by environmental health service department of Powys Council, the authority which licenced the business.

John Powell, cabinet member for environmental health, said: “The purpose of licensing the hackney carriage (taxis) and private hire trade is to ensure the safety of the public by ensuring that drivers are fit and proper and that the vehicles they drive are safe, suitable and reliable.

“This case should act as a warning to the trade that if they fail to obtain the necessary licences for their vehicles and drivers the council will take the appropriate action. Our licensing officers will continue to make sure that vehicles and their drivers comply with the important safeguards.”

Benjamin was fined £600 for each of the charges, and ordered to pay £2,125 legal costs and a surcharge of £60, bringing the total to £5,185.

In May, he had pleaded guilty to offences at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates’ Court, including employing an unlicensed driver to carry passengers, in a prosecuting also brought by the authority.

Benjamin pleaded guilty to three charges and was fined £350 for each of the charges. He was also ordered to pay £240 legal costs and a surcharge of £35, a total of £1,325.

It is the duty of all private hire operators to ensure that all vehicles and drivers employed by them are licensed to do so, in order to ensure both vehicles and drivers are safe and fit for purpose.

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