Durham taxi driver James Taylor Robson who hit and killed pensioner had fake licence

Newcastle Crown Court

James Taylor Robson, blameless over the death of a 75-year-pedestrian, was found to have forged his taxi licence

A taxi driver who knocked down and killed a pensioner had forged his cabbie’s licence, a court heard.

James Taylor Robson was a bona fide taxi driver for years but had not held a valid licence since 2007.

As he drove through Sunderland, Robson’s car struck a 75-year-old man as he crossed the road.

Robson, 61, is not charged in relation to the death but appeared in court on fraud and forgery charges in relation to his taxi licence.

Christopher Knox, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was for some years a licenced taxi driver in Sunderland.

“However he then evaded the licencing system by forging his licence and presenting it to obtain insurance and thus to present himself as a taxi driver.

“These matters came to the notice of the police when on January 5 was driving his taxi when he hit and killed a 75-year-old pedestrian.

“It’s not possible to say his driving was sufficiently at fault to justify any charges arising from that accident.”

Mr Knox said Robson was driving at a reasonable speed in the dark when he collided with the unnamed victim as he crossed the road after coming out of a pub.

But although blameless over the death, police inquiries showed he should not have been working as a cabbie at the time.

The prosecutor said: “He had not held a valid taxi licence since February 2007.

“The seriousness of these offences is he had used a forged old badge and made false representations that he was a licenced taxi driver to obtain insurance and to put himself forward to the taxi operator as a licenced driver.

“He just changed the date on the badge and no-one seemed to notice the design had changed in that time.”

The court heard Robson had been given spectacles in 2003 but had not been back to the opticians since.

Although he passed an eye test after the accident, police noticed his glasses appeared old and scratched.

Mr Knox said: “If he had lawfully been a taxi driver he would have been tested by his GP and his eyesight would have been looked at.

“On the face of it there is no reason why he would not have been licenced.”

Robson, of Hazel Dene Way, Seaham, County Durham, told police he had been a cabbie for 19 years and had worn glasses while driving for 45 years.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of making a false representation to his insurance company, forgery of his taxi badge and using a false instrument.

Recorder Andrew Haslam adjourned sentence in order to obtain further information about Robson’s eyesight and glasses.

The judge said: “Why did he not have his eyes tested between 2003 and 2014 and why was he wearing old scratched spectacles while driving members of the public in a taxi?”

Ian Hudson, defending, said: “He is not at fault in any way for the fatality and road accident which took place on January 5 and that is not the subject of doubt.”

Robson was further released on bail and will be back in court for sentence at a later date.

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

Taxi abuse fears lead to call for red tape rethink

Skipton MP Julian Smith

FEARS of sexual abuse by Yorkshire taxi drivers should halt Government plans to cut red tape in the industry, an MP has said.

Julian Smith has urged the Government to halt legislation which would make it easier for unchecked drivers to pick up fares amid concerns the abuse seen in Rotherham maybe more widespread than initially thought.

Mr Smith told MPs: “I urge the Government to look one more time at the provisions in the Deregulation Bill, which is currently before the Lords. In northern towns such as Skipton, taxis have been a key part of the problem of child sexual exploitation.”

Concerns were raised by the Skipton and Ripon MP after he carried out his won research into abuse in Yorkshire following the jay report. Mr Smith said he did not uncover any specific allegations but came across many generalised abuse issues, including licensing concerns regarding the taxi industry.

“I do not want to cause alarm, but it is a consideration we have to bear in mind,” Mr Smith later added.

Labour has seized on the comment as evidence that a shake up in how taxis are licensed runs the risk of making some services less safe.

Mary Creagh, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, speaking ahead of a crucial House of Lords vote on taxi deregulation as part of the Deregulation Bill, said:

“The Government’s disastrous proposals to deregulate taxis risk putting women in danger.

“Despite months of warnings from Labour and safety campaigners Ministers are pressing ahead with their risky plans to loosen taxi licensing and allow cabs to work out of area.

“Ministers need urgently to review these measures and we repeat our offer to work with them to get the rogues off the road.”

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: “It is up to licensing authorities to carry out all the necessary checks.”

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

Rotherham cabbies face ‘daily’ racial abuse

Rotherham taxi driver Nsar Raoof

Rotherham taxi drivers believe up to 30 cabbies could have been involved in the trafficking and abuse of children highlighted in the Jay Report.

And cabbie Nasar Raoof suspects that some involved in the abuse have appealed against their bans and are potentially free to abuse again.

It is estimated 1,400 children were abused in the town over a 16-year period, and the report highlighted the role of four cabbies in particular who were believed to have been involved in trafficking and abuse.

But Nasar believes the number could be much higher.

“It’s all been around a few drivers, but we are all paying the price,” said Nasar.

“We think there are between 20 and 30 drivers involved out of 800 Rotherham cabbies over a 10-year period or so.”

Nasar also called on the council and police to get prosecutions processed quicker.

“We want everything brought up to date.

“Find out who the bad lot are, lock them up, and leave us alone.

“We feel that the longer this takes the more racism we will have to take.

“We feel that the abuse victims are being let down and that nothing is being done to build up race relations in Rotherham.

“Some have had their taxi drivers’ licences revoked but there doesn’t seem to be any connection between the council and police and no legal action has been forthcoming.

“Some are even appealing and winning their licences back in magistrates’ court.

“That means that potentially abusers could be back in their cabs again.

“You can drive up until your appeal against having your licence revoked is heard by magistrates, and the perpetrator is free to abuse again in that time.”

Commenting on recent police involvement, Chief Superintendent Jason Kerwin of South Yorkshire Police said: “We are investigating a lot of cases including some taxi drivers, but we cannot rush things.

“It takes weeks and even months to put a case together properly and that’s what we are doing now.”

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

Newcastle chippy boss jailed for 11 years for posing as cabbie to kidnap and molest woman

CCTV footage and inset, Mohammed Malik

Mohammed Malik, caught on CCTV letting a drunk woman get into his black estate car, abducted her for his own sexual gratification

A takeaway boss who posed as a cabbie to kidnap and molest a drunk young woman has been jailed for 11 years.

Fish and chip shop owner Mohammed Malik parked up in Newcastle city centre in his black estate car next to a taxi rank.

When a drunk visitor to the region got in, she was expecting to be taken the short distance to the place she was staying in the city centre.

But instead Malik drove the unsuspecting 20-year-old to a secluded spot in the West End, where he subjected her to a sorid sex attack.

As Malik was locked up for kidnap and sexual assault, his victim told of the devastating effect the attack has had on her in a statement read to Newcastle Crown Court.

She said: “I felt scared, ashamed and embarrassed at what happened.

“I often lock myself in my room and put my headphones on and dance round to try to forget.

“I’ve lost my relationship with my boyfriend due to the stress and trauma this has caused. I’m no longer able to trust men and couldn’t be close to my boyfriend.

“At night I can’t bear getting in a taxi again in case this happens again so I have to rely on my family.

“The trial has been the most difficult and scary time of my life and being in the same building as him was sickening.

“At times I felt as if I was to blame for it and like I was the one on trial.”

The woman was a visitor to the city and had been out celebrating a birthday with friends in March when she started looking for a taxi around 4am.

She got into Malik’s black VW Golf estate near popular complex The Gate, on Newgate Street, and asked to be taken the short distance to the place in the city centre where she was staying with friends.

Prosecutor Julian Smith said: “Unfortunately for her, the car she got into, believing it to be a taxi, is nothing of the sort.

“She found herself in the defendant’s car, who drove her to a secluded area to the west of the city, away from the city centre. He would not let her leave the car or take her to her friends or the place where she was staying.

“He took her away under false pretences, he would not let her leave and he then took the opportunity to seriously sexually assault her.”

The court heard the young woman and her friends had been to a number of bars, including Popworld, Kiss and Destiny.

They ended up in a takeaway near The Gate, at which point the victim left and went looking for a cab.

As she was a stranger to Newcastle, she didn’t realise she was only 200 yards from the place where her and her friends were staying.

CCTV shows Malik’s car driving down the road away from the Haymarket and it stops in the layby taxi rank outside Debenham’s.

The victim approaches him and speaks to him then gets in the car. Malik, who manages a number of properties, including a fish and chip shop, drove off with the woman.

Three men passing by saw the woman getting into the car, which they noticed was not a taxi.

They made a note of the registration number and texted it to police. This would ultimately help nail Malik but could not stop the attack.

Despite the woman’s screams of “No”, Malik dragged her into the back seat by her arms and legs and subjected her to a sexual assault.

Police were called and when the woman was examined they found bruising to her arms and legs.

Malik was arrested later the same day as a result of his number plate having been sent to the police.

His DNA was also recovered from the victim’s clothing.

Malik, 30, of Beaconsfield Street, Arthur’s Hill, Newcastle never in trouble before, had denied kidnap and sexual assault but was convicted after a trial last month.

Judge John Milford QC, who said he could not be sure the attack was pre-planned, told Malik he must sign the sex offender register for life and jailed him for 11 years.

The judge said: “This was a case of abduction and there was prolonged detention and it was a sustained incident.

“(The woman) was particularly vulnerable due to the fact she was inebriated.”

Malik’s barrister said he had lost an “awful lot” as a result of the offence, including his fish and chip shop and other properties he managed.

Malik has been in the country 10 years without getting in any trouble, is a family man and the attack was an “aberration”, his barrister added.

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

Minicab Driver Faked His Licence To Work Illegally

A Wrexham man has been prosecuted after forging his Private Hire Driver badge in order to work after his licence had expired.

Peter John Williams of Holt Road, Wrexham was prosecuted at Wrexham Magistrates Court and ordered to pay fines, costs and victim surcharge totalling £925.

The Court heard that Mr Williams caused a road traffic collision in May 2014 on the Holt Road in Wrexham after driving into an oncoming car in the opposite lane. As a result, the two vehicles were written off and several passengers sustained injuries.

At the time of the collision, Mr Williams was acting as a Private Hire Driver and had collected two customers from Manchester Airport. The Police and Ambulance Service were called to the scene and the matter was reported to Wrexham Council’s Licensing Department.

Licensing Officers approached Mr Williams after the accident and it was identified that he hadn’t held a Private Hire Licence since his last one had expired over a year previously. When asked to present his identification badge, officers noted that the date of expiry had been tampered with in an attempt for it to appear as a current licence.

Mr Williams told officers that he had forgotten to get his licence renewed then decided to forge the badge because he could not afford a new licence.

Councillor David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment and Public Protection said: “The result reflects ongoing work by the Licensing Department to ensure that anyone carrying out taxi and private hire work must be appropriately licensed. The sentence shows that the courts take the matter very seriously and as a council we will not tolerate those who flout the law.”

source: http://www.wrexham.com/

Apr 30

CCTV appeal in hunt for taxi robbers

Police have released CCTV images of three men they want to trace in connection with the knifepoint robbery of a taxi passenger.

The 32-year-old victim was robbed of £3,000 when the taxi he was travelling was targeted in Leicester city centre last December.

Two men flagged down the taxi in East Bond Street and got inside, claiming to want to go to the same destination as the passenger.

When the taxi got to Abbey Lane, near to the junction with Byford Road, the men threatened the victim with a knife and demanded he hand over his cash.

The men stole £3,000, a pink Nokia mobile phone and a G-Star Raw jacket in the attack, which happened shortly after 11.35pm on Friday, December 28.

The victim then got out of the taxi and ran away. One of them chased him briefly before returning to the taxi, which then drove away.

Detective Constable Louise Osborne said: “We have been carrying out extensive inquiries since this robbery happened, speaking to local businesses and people in the area, looking into forensic opportunities and also looking at CCTV.

“As part of those inquiries we have identified three people we would like to talk to, who we believe might be able to help us with our investigation.

“If you know these men, or are these men, then please call us.

“Although it has been four months since this incident happened we are still keen to speak to anyone who we haven’t already spoken to.”

The two men have been described as being either Asian or Turkish, aged between 25 and 28-years-old and approximately 5’9” to 6ft tall. One of them was wearing a thick winter coat, a baseball cap and was clean shaven. The second is described as being of an athletic build.

Contact Det Con Osborne on 101 or Crimestoppers, which is anonymous, on 0800 555 111.

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

Apr 30

Cabbie hangs up keys after 50 years behind the wheel

Cabbie Greg Caulwell

Council honours long-serving taxi driver with special achievement award.

Birmingham cabbie Greg Caulwell is taking a well-earned back seat at last – after nearly half a century of ferrying passengers around the city.

Greg, 68, is calling it a day after working as a TOA taxi driver since the mid-60s.

During that time, cab highlights have included helping save the life of a heart attack victim by rushing him to hospital, ferrying BAFTA award-winning actor Edward Fox around the city – and making journeys to Buckingham Palace.

Now Birmingham City Council marked the end of the road for the cabbie by presenting him with a special Long Service Achievement Certificate.

Greg, from Oldbury, has been a cabbie since 1967, when he first became a driver at TOA Taxis, paying half a crown – or the equivalent of around 12 pence today – for a licensing fee. Today the fee costs £250 a year.

He bought his first taxi, an Austin, in 1972, when road tax was around £12 per year. When he first started, there were only 175 black cabs in Birmingham – today there are around 1,400.

Greg Caulwell with his first self-owned taxi, an Austin, in 1972. Greg Caulwell with his first self-owned taxi, an Austin, in 1972.

Greg Caulwell with his first self-owned taxi, an Austin, in 1972.

The veteran cabbie said: “I am going to have a good rest for the time being, but my wife says she has plenty of jobs lined up for me around the house and garden.

“I have no regrets and have enjoyed every last minute of taking the good people of Birmingham around this great city.”

Councillor Barbara Dring, chair of Licencing and Public Protection at Birmingham City Council, said: “I am very happy to have had the opportunity to thank Greg Caulwell for the contribution that he has made over 46 years. Taxi-drivers are self-employed, so when they retire they don’t have an employer to mark the occasion for them. I hope that by introducing these certificates Birmingham can recognise all their hard work”

Greg still owns his original driver’s badge and by-laws handbook from 1967.

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

Apr 30

IPCC orders reinvestigation of Maidenhead taxi driver’s case

THE police watchdog has ordered Thames Valley Police to re-investigate complaints about a case involving a taxi driver who was falsely charged with assault – resulting in him losing his business.

Father-of-three Davinder Singh Sandhu, from Maidenhead, was charged in September 2010 of assaulting two woman outside the Fredrick’s Hotel in Shoppenhangers Road after dropping them off in his taxi.

He was found guilty at Bracknell Magistrates Court in June 2011, but a subsequent appeal at Reading Crown Court in August 2011 overturned the judgement based on a lack of substantial evidence and CCTV footage.

Following the appeal, he complained to TVP about the investigation process which led to him being charged. The investigation concluded in July 2012, that the two officers involved had no case to answer.

However, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has upheld Mr Sandhu’s appeal against the investigation and ordered TVP to re-investigate the complaint. A TVP spokeswoman said: “Thames Valley Police is currently revisiting the points made in the IPCC assessment into this matter. When the findings are completed they will be forwarded to Mr Sandhu. At this stage, it would be inappropriate to comment further.” The 49-year-old has been unable to get his taxi driver’s licence back from the Royal Borough since the initial judgement.

Mr Sandhu, who had been a taxi driver since 1996 and had a clean record up until the charge, says he has been unable to find work since the incident, lost his company Maidenhead and Berkshire Cars and has been forced to live on benefits to care for his three children aged five, 13 and 15 and disabled wife, who had a stroke in 2003. He said: “My life has been ruined by this. My business was taken away which lost me £100,000. It’s been very stressful and I have done nothing wrong. I am a clean person and I want to get on with my life and work.” A Royal Borough spokeswoman said: “Our officers say he is not a fit and proper person and the Licensing Panel agreed. The Magistrates Court found he was not a fit and proper person and the Crown Court echoed that.”

The spokeswoman added both a magistrate and judge had made the statements.

Mr Sandhu successfully appealed in October 2010 against the suspension of his licence after the initial charge in September 2010 and was allowed to keep his licence until the end of the magistrates trial in June 2011.

Mr Sandhu obtained a Security Industry Authority door supervision licence in July 2012 in an attempt to find work which involves a thorough background check.

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

Apr 30

Taxi fare cuts will not spark price war

Taxi bosses today denied a price war was set to break out after a Fylde coast cab firm lowered its starting fare.

As reported in the Gazette last week, C Cabs, which has a fleet of around 190 cars, slashed its opening price from £2.60 to £2.

Its director George Robinson said the decision had been taken by the company’s shareholders “due to the climate we live in”.

However, other firms say they will not be implementing similar fare reductions.

St Annes-based Whiteside Taxis currently operates with a starting fare of £2.

Its managing director, Daniel Whiteside, said: “We’ve been doing it for years so it’s about time other firms did it.

“They’re only following suit for what we’ve been doing for as long as I’ve ben doing it, which is around 20 years.”

C Cabs says it hopes drivers will receive more business to compensate for the lower fares.

Mr Whiteside added: “Our drivers are completely happy with the charge because we get more business as a result.”

Paul Hinton, director at Bispham-based Blacktax, said: “We lowered our fares about six years ago and we have to remain competitive in a tight market.”

Another Fylde coast driver, who did not want to be identified, said: “Our company is reluctant to do anything like that because you’re just getting into a taxi war.

“Don’t get me wrong, the customer benefits but the drivers are struggling to make a wage as it is.

“It’s not something I’d want us to get into at this stage anyway because there isn’t going to be a winner.”

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

Apr 29

Chelmsford: Taxi Driver Guilty Of Child Sex Offences

A taxi driver from Chelmsford who used a social networking website to groom teenage girls has been jailed for nine years.

28 year-old Benjamin Spratt, from Laurel Grove, admitted offences against two girls aged 14 and 15.

He was arrested in November 2011 after using the website MYLOL, a website designed for teenagers to interact with each other, to approach young girls.

After meeting his 14 year-old victim online, he travelled to her home in southeast London. He then turned up at her school two days later.

When she told her teachers he was outside, they called police but he had left before they arrived. However, Spratt was then arrested and, when his computer was examined, officers discovered he had been in contact with several young girls.

They tracked down a 15 year-old girl who told them the 28 year-old conviced her to “engage in sexual activity online.

Officers tracked down a 15-year-old girl who told them that Spratt convinced her to engage in sexual activity online while he performed a sex act on himself.

Detective Constable John Daly from the Metropolitan Police said: “Benjamin Spratt is a predatory [edited by admin] who has targeted a vulnerable young girl to satisfy his own sexual needs.

“The MPS is dedicated to protecting the public from sexual predators and encouraging victims to come forward. They will be fully supported by specially trained officers.”

Detective Inspector Keith Ward said: “The victim was targeted, groomed and exploited by Spratt.

“This crime again shows how the internet and social media can be used by [edited by admin] to snare their victims. This conviction will provide reassurance that we will relentlessly pursue those who commit these dreadful crimes against children.”

Spratt was also placed on the sex offenders register for life and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for five years.

He was also banned from using the internet to talk with children, communicate with any female under 16 without supervision and to allow the police to examine any device with either internet or digital image storage.

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

Apr 29

Taxi petition removed from Brighton and Hove council website

An e-petition has been pulled from a council website after complaints about its content.

It was launched by Stefanie Krachan-Lashbrook who called for improved taxi licensing in Brighton and Hove. But it was removed from the city council’s website yesterday afternoon (April 28).

The petition, which was launched on Sunday, April 21, alleged that Brighton and Hove’s taxi drivers do not abide by any laws and that the council was unable to enforce them effectively and protect the public adequately.

Under the council’s own guidance an e-petition can be rejected if it “contains intemperate, inflammatory, abusive or provocative language” or “is defamatory, frivolous, vexatious, discriminatory or otherwise offensive”.

Despite being online for five days the petition had failed to attract any signatures.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said: “We have removed the e-petition because it didn’t adhere to our e-petitions guidelines.”

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

Apr 27

Taxpayers foot taxi compensation bill after council errors

A TAXI firm boss is to receive £1,000 compensation from Brentwood Borough Council after the authority was rapped by the local government watchdog for poor record-keeping.

Graham Dinning, the managing director at Treble Twenty Cars and Couriers, got the Local Government Ombudsman involved after he became concerned about the safety checks the council was carrying out on his taxis.

Mr Dinning, 54, asked the ombudsman to investigate the council’s emissions testing and brake calibration policy.

The investigation concluded that the council’s mechanics only did a visual emissions test, which is not up to the standard of an MOT test – the level the authority said it would provide.

The watchdog’s report also found that the council did not have any records to show that its brake-testing machine had been calibrated before 2010.

Mr Dinning said: “We have pursued this complaint to the ombudsman for public safety reasons.

“As a responsible taxi company, Treble Twenty pride ourselves in ensuring that, where possible, our cars are fully roadworthy and any defects are repaired immediately when they are brought to our notice.

“However, like all other taxi operators, we also rely on the six-monthly safety checks by the council to ensure our vehicles are in the best possible condition.

“I was horrified to find out that the council had failed to carry out their safety checks correctly over such a long period.

“If the council had found out that we had not carried out our safety checks correctly, it would have been screaming that we were putting passengers’ lives in danger and would have justifiably taken our licences off us.”

Mr Dinning, who lives in South Weald, added: “The council should not only be apologising to the trade for its failures, but to the public of Brentwood as a whole because it is them who may have been put at risk by the failure of the council to test vehicles correctly.

“The council systematically charged the trade for elements of the vehicle test that were either not carried out, or which were of such poor quality that they were meaningless, and they should refund the costs of the tests to the trade.

“If you went anywhere else and paid for a service that you did not receive then you would be entitled to your money back, but it appears that this does not happen when it’s Brentwood Borough Council.

“It’s one rule for them and one rule for us.”

The ombudsman has instructed the council to pay £1,000 to Treble Twenty Cars and Couriers to compensate the firm for its “time and trouble”.

The firm will be giving this money to the BBC’s Children in Need Charity Appeal.

A council spokesman said: “Public safety is the council’s primary concern.

“The ombudsman was satisfied that the brake-testing equipment was calibrated and so brake testing had been valid and in line with legal requirements.

“Emissions testing has been carried out over a number of years, although this is not a mandatory part of the licensing process. In 2010 we introduced improved emissions testing equipment though even with previous methods, public safety was not compromised.

“All minimum safety requirements have been met at all times.

“We are confident in the current high standards of all our testing and record-keeping.”

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

Apr 26

“Dangerous criminal” sentenced for taxi driver kidnap

A “dangerous criminal” who kidnapped and robbed a taxi driver at knifepoint was sentenced to six years in prison at Luton Crown Court this morning (April 26).

Jordon James, 22, of no fixed abode, appeared via video link from Norwich Prison, and was told he would serve two-thirds of the six year custodial sentence, followed by an extended licence of five years because he “poses a significant risk to the public.”

The court heard how James said he felt “no remorse” for the incident in November 2012, in which he and co-defendant Jamie Scott held a taxi driver at knifepoint and used an imitation firearm to force him to drive them to Luton and withdraw cash.

Sentencing James, His Honour Judge Richard Foster said: “This is an horrific offence and the victim must have been absolutely terrified – as he said he was in fear of his life.

“The chilling part of this was your response to what you did and what you said to the probation officer. You showed absolutely no remorse for what you did. It’s quite clear from what you say that you would do it again if you needed to.”

The court heard how James and Scott were picked up by taxi driver Mohammed Rahan, 30, in Kempston on November 16 last year.

Jordan held a 10inch kitchen knife to Mr Rahan’s throat while Scott threatened him with an imitation firearm, forcing him to drive them to Luton where they wanted him to withdraw £300 from a cash machine.

Mr Rahan threw himself from the moving vehicle in front of two passing police officers who were on foot patrol, twisting his ankle in the process.

The officers gave chase to the robbers and were threatened with the imitation firearm, but managed to arrest the pair.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Rahan said: “I was really scared, genuinely afraid they were going to kill me. I couldn’t eat or drink for a few days after as I was so frightened and shocked. I would like to give up my job as a taxi driver but necessity forces me to continue, albeit during the day rather than the evening shift.”

James has nine previous convictions for 22 offences, including harassment, possession of cocaine with intent to supply, supply of cannabis, possession of a bladed article, street robberies, firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence, breaching terms of license.

He was sentenced today for kidnap, robbery, possessing an imitation firearm and having a bladed article.

Judge Foster said: “You are a dangerous criminal, not just based on the facts of this case but also on your criminal history. You pose a significant risk to the public of causing serious injury if not worse.

“You are a young man, one hopes that when you serve the custodial part of the sentence in prison you have the support of the probation service and you will leave custody as a reformed character, but I have no guarantee of that.”

Scott will return to Luton Crown Court for sentencing on May 10 as his pre-trial report was not ready today.

http://www.lutontoday.co.uk/

Apr 25

Jobs saved but fight goes on for Winsford taxi drivers

WINSFORD taxi drivers association (WTDA) vowed the fight would go on, after the borough council relaxed forthcoming changes to Hackney Carriage licensing.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Licensing Committee decided on Tuesday, April 16, to postpone a decision to ban all non wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) from the ranks from April 2014.

WTDA said the move would lead to 60 job losses across Winsford, with drivers unable to afford the cheapest £27,000 CWAC-approved WAV.

Following a hard-fought campaign supported by charities who believe the council should maintain a mixed fleet of saloon and WAV vehicles, CWAC have backed down, but the rule will still come into force from April 2016.

Dave Edwards from WTDA said: “It’s a victory for the people of Winsford and victory, at least three years, for the semi ambulant disabled who can’t climb in and out of these big wheelchair accessible taxis, and who prefer saloon cars.

“Certainly, there’s relief from taxi drivers who were facing losing their jobs, too.”

Under the new rules, Hackney WAVs not older than 3 ½ years can be licensed for 15 years from April 2016.

Private hire vehicles also not exceeding 3 ½ years old can be licensed for 10 years.

Dave said WTDA would continue to fight for currently registered saloon drivers to be able to swap their vehicle for a non-WAV vehicle after the rules come into force.

He also thought the licensing committee should have taken the opportunity to call off the changes pending the outcome of a Government investigation that may introduce rules that supersede decisions taken at borough council level.

“The council should have waited on the Law Commission’s report. If the Law Commission overrule what CWAC have done, then the question will have to be asked: how much public money has been wasted?” he said.

Dave added: “I would also like to know exactly what evidence the council have gathered to prove that semi-ambulant people would be better served by wheelchair accessible vehicles.”

A Council spokesman said: “The Council undertook an extensive consultation exercise in order to shape the draft policy that was considered and approved by members of the Licensing Committee on April 16.

“This included people who had experience of mobility issues and sensory disabilities and also carers from across the Borough including Winsford, Northwich, Oakmere and Frodsham.

“People with a range of disabilities took part in discussion groups as part of the consultation. The groups included people with mobility issues who use, for example a walking stick, people with visual and hearing impairments, people with mental health issues and people who use motorised and non-motorised wheelchairs.

“We have not received any complaints from people using wheelchair accessible hackney carriages.

“There are a number of types of wheelchair accessible vehicles currently available which include the iconic ‘London cab’ and converted ‘people carriers’.

“These vehicles are commonly used in the Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston zones which have been 100 percent wheelchair compliant for many years without complaint.”

Labour councillors reacted angrily to the licensing committee decision to limit the lifespan of taxis, claiming that drivers ‘may be facing the dole’ when their vehicle expires.

New rules will mean Hackney cabs will have to come off the road at 15 years old while private hires will be off the road at 10 years, regardless of condition or roadworthiness.

Labour spokesperson on licensing issues, clr Brian Jones, said: “Yet again, the Tories refused to listen to the people they are supposed to represent.

“The committee were told by so many taxi drivers that imposing this age limit on vehicles will force people on to the dole because they won’t be afford to buy a replacement.

“It’s possible that this measure alone will mean hundreds of people losing their livelihoods. That’s more hardworking local people on the scrap heap and on benefits, and for what? I’m horrified by this decision.

Labour councillor Bob Rudd added: “I am very unhappy about introducing an arbitrary age limit for vehicles. It’s more important that vehicles used by the public are safe and they are comfortable.

“There are better ways that these standards can be maintained other than an arbitrary age limit.”

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

Apr 25

Thug headbutted cabbie at 70mph on A19 near Hartlepool

If this guy had dynamite for brains he wouldn’t have enough to blow his nose off

THIS is the thug who launched a violent attack on a taxi driver as he was travelling at 70mph down a dual carriageway.

Anthony Coyle first headbutted and then punched the cabbie, knocking his glasses from his face, as they travelled down the A19, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.

Hartlepool magistrates heard the 25-year-old had booked the taxi from Peterlee firm, Red Line Taxis, to travel from the Horden Labour Club to Middlesbrough.

The driver, from Crimdon, arrived at the club just before 8pm to collect Coyle.

Coyle asked the driver to first take him to a nearby off licence where he went inside and bought a bottle of wine to drink on the journey.

But as the taxi travelled along the A19, Coyle began to bang on the dashboard and the driver asked him to stop.

Coyle then jumped towards the driver and headbutted him “hard to the side of the head.”

The yob then punched him to the left side of the face, the force of which knocked his glasses off.

The taxi driver pulled off the A19 and into the car park of The Windmill pub, at Dalton Piercy, where he went inside and phoned police.

Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse told justices: “The complainant picked Coyle up from the Horden Labour Club with an agreement of a £20 fare to take him through to Middlesbrough.

“En route they stopped off at a shop where the defendant bought a bottle of wine. He was drinking it and then started braying on the dashboard of the taxi.

“The taxi driver asked the defendant to stop several times and on doing so the defendant headbutted the driver hard to the side of the head while travelling at 70mph on a major road.

“The driver said it shocked him, but then the defendant punched him to the left side of the face knocking his glasses off.”

She added: “He drove off the A19 into a pub car park and rang police from the pub.

“Ten minutes later the defendant came into the pub at which point the complainant left and got into his taxi.

“He suffered soreness to the head and said he wouldn’t be seeking medical treatment at the time, but would if necessary.”

Coyle, of Maritime Crescent, Peterlee, pleaded guilty to the assault by beating charge, which happened on April 6.

The court also heard that at the time of the offence he was subject to a community order for assaulting a police officer, and has other public order offences on his record.

Chairman of the bench Keith Kitching adjourned sentencing Coyle until Monday next week for the completion of a report by the Probation Service.

The defendant’s solicitor Alex Clancy did not offer any mitigation on her client’s behalf at this stage.

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

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