An Ipswich minicab driver has been convicted of touting for business and stealing a £450 phone belonging to a teenage girl he illegally picked up at Cardinal Park.
Valdet Miftari, of Compair Crescent, Ipswich, was also found guilty of plying for trade when not licensed as a public Hackney carriage and having no insurance for his Volvo V50, after a trial at the town’s magistrates’ court.
The 29-year-old denied all the charges.
On April 29, 2016 two teenage girls left Unit 17 nightclub in Cardinal Park between 2.30am and 2.45am, having booked a cab home through Hawk Express.
There were several cabs waiting for customers.
One of the women approached drivers to find the vehicle they had booked.
The third driver she approached was Miftari, a self-employed licensed private hire driver, working for Hawk Express.
The court was told he offered to take the women home, but when they got into his cab he asked one of them to call his office and cancel the booking, telling them to say ‘my mum had picked us up’.
It was claimed Miftari suggested stopping at a kebab shop on Norwich Road because he had heard the teenagers say they were hungry.
Miftari offered to wait inside for the food order, while the teenagers went to wait in his car.
One of the girls left her mobile phone on the counter. The prosecution said that out of the view of staff Miftari covered the phone with his arm, and then put it in his pocket.
After arriving home one of the teenagers realised she had lost her £450 phone. She contacted Hawk Express in the hope of recovering her phone, but Miftari had not been booked by the company.
The teenager went to the kebab shop and took a copy of its CCTV to the police, who identified Miftari’s Volvo.
She also went to Ipswich Borough Council as the licensing authority for taxis and minicabs.
A minicab driver invalidates his insurance if he touts for trade.
It was established Miftari had no reason to be in Cardinal Park. Miftari claimed he gave the teenagers a free lift home out of kindness, because they had been waiting in the cold, and he did not charge them for the journey. He admitted he took the phone, but said he had handed it back.
Miftari will be sentenced on March 21.