Rhyl female taxi driver was in on crowbar attack plot …. on passenger in her cab

A female cabbie was in on a plot that saw men stop her taxi and attack the passenger she was carrying.

Gary Morgan was being taken along River Street in Rhyl when another car pulled in front of the cab he was in.

Two men jumped out and, armed with a knife and an iron bar, dragged Mr Morgan from the taxi and began to beat him.

Mr Morgan managed to defend himself as blows were rained down on him.

Taxi driver Bonnie Ainsley had offered to take the injured man to hospital after the attack, but he insisted on using her phone to call 999.

During the course of the police investigation, detectives found that there had been calls between her mobile and one belonging to one of the attackers in the hours leading up to the beating.

When she was interviewed by police after the August 2015 attack, the 40-year-old single mum claimed that she’d been asked by one of the gang to pick Mr Morgan up so they could attack him, but she’d refused.

However, she had gone a different route to the one Mr Morgan had originally asked for, and hadn’t seem surprised when the other car suddenly pulled up, blocking her path.

Today, she was found guilty to conspiracy to assault Mr Morgan by a jury at Mold Crown Court, and sentenced to 18 month in prison, suspended for two years.

The only reason she had avoided jail was because she had to care for her young son, Judge Rhys Rowlands told her.

She was placed on rehabilitation and she was tagged for four months to remain indoors between 9pm and 7am.

Her defence barrister Gary Rawlinson said she denied having any part of a plan to attack anyone.

In August, Aldo Tamburrini, 23, of Rhydwen Drive, Rhyl, was jailed for two and a half years for his part in the attack.

Christopher Roper, 27, of Hen-afon Road, Rhyl, received 28 months.

The conspiracy charge was dropped against Ryan Adamson, 22, of Rhyl Road, Rhuddlan, who stayed in the car while the other two attacked Mr Morgan.

He received an eight month prison sentence suspended for a year with 120 hours unpaid work in the community after he admitted assisting an offender on the basis that he drove the men away from the scene.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Morgan said that it had affected him greatly and he was medication for anxiety and depression.

What had happened to him would stay with him for the rest of his life, he said.

Ainslie, of Llewellyn Court, Rhyl, is now working in a cafe. Judge Rowlands said the police should tell Denbighshire council’s taxi licensing authority about her, because it would be inappropriate for her to return to driving a cab given the part she had played in the conspiracy.

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

Taxi driver caught with £250,000 in his Skoda

A taxi driver who was caught out for being involved in a £2million money laundering racket has been jailed after being found with £250,000 on the back seat of his car.

Authorities found the cash in a bag on the back seat of Waqas Ilyas’ Skoda when they swooped in April, 2015, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Investigators then uncovered another £36,435 hidden under his mattress at his Manchester home and a ledger which detailed a month of dodgy transactions worth a huge £1.7million.

Ilyas, 35, and his partner Nazia Ghafar, 31, a saleswoman, were arrested and claimed the cash was linked to the ‘hawala’ alternative money transfer system.

Investigators found the cash in a bag on the back seat of Waqas Ilyas’ Skoda

The system is used by people without a bank account to transfer cash, particularly in the Middle East, Africa and Indian subcontinent.

As it is unregulated in many jurisdictions, it is also used to launder criminal cash.

Ilyas and his partner at first denied the crime but changed their pleas on the eve of a trial when faced with overwhelming evidence.

Following months of investigation under the codename Operation Katowice, officials from HM Revenue and Customs swooped on Ilyas’ 2005-registered Skoda Octavia, only worth about £3,000, and found a bag stuffed with £248,880 in cash on the back seat.

They carried out another search at the home he shared with Ghafar in Melville Road in Stretford and they found a further £36,435 hidden under their mattress in a JD Sports carrier bag.

Also uncovered was a ‘ledger book’ which listed transactions totalling £1.7million covering a one month period.

The pair had initially denied money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act but they changed their pleas on the eve of their trial at Manchester Crown Court.

And they didn’t challenge the seizure of the cash.

Ilyas was jailed for four years while Ghafar was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence.

The investigation did not establish which crime – for instance drug dealing or tax fraud – had generated the criminal cash.

Following the hearing, Richard Wentel, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “This couple realised their weak explanations would not stand up in court and finally admitted their crimes.

“HMRC will not tolerate this illegal economy. If there is no legitimate reason for bundles of cash like this we will seize it – explain it or lose it.
“Crime doesn’t pay and we will always target money laundering.

“I would urge anyone who has information about this type of activity or witnesses suspicious large cash transactions to call the 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

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

Mum of girl injured in horror smash ‘furious’ that private-hire driver is back on the roads

The mother of a little girl who was left brain damaged after a crash with a private-hire says she’s “absolutely furious” that the driver is back in the profession.

Jessica Bootes was just four when she was seriously injured in a horror road crash on the A194 near Lindisfarne Roundabout, in Jarrow in March 2014.

Parents Lisa and Chris Bootes Newcastle s RVI with daughter Jessica, after her accident at age four.

The youngster, now seven, spent 11 days in a coma and had to have the left side of her skull removed, and suffered paralysis down the right side after the five-car collision.

Private-hire driver Amir Azad, of Lilac Road, South Shields, smashed into the back of the family car while they were stopped at traffic lights and was fined £250 and given six penalty points at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

South Tyneside Council later revoked his private-hire license, but he has now secured one with Newcastle City Council and is working as a private-hire driver.

Jessica’s mum, Lisa, from Harton, South Shields, said: “I’m absolutely furious. A court deemed him unfit to drive on the roads in South Tyneside so how can he go to Newcastle and get a licence?

“This man gets to walk about every day and get on with his life when he ruined my family’s lives.”She added: “She can’t cope with being in a car for more than 10 minutes.

She doesn’t feel safe. I get panic attacks too and can’t drive long distances.

“I’m going to fight this. I don’t care what I’ve got to do or how long it takes.”

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: “

A private hire driver’s licence application was considered and granted by the council on November 2015.

“All applications for a private hire licence must follow a robust legal framework and are considered by committee in accordance with guidelines issued by the Department for Transport and Home Office.

“Every application is subject to a rigorous checking process and is carefully considered. Convictions, cautions and driving licence endorsements are all taken into account and we rely on the Disclosure & Barring Service and DVLA vetting procedures together with advice from Northumbria Police.

Mr Azad refused to comment when he was contacted by the Gazette.

Read more at: http://www.shieldsgazette.com/

Uber driver dragged her out of his car because she ‘wasn’t talking properly’

A cancer survivor whose illness left her with a speech impediment claims an Uber driver dragged her out of his cab because she ‘wasn’t talking properly’.

Sam Barbic, who has a hole in her neck, said the driver screamed at her and grabbed her arm to pull her from his vehicle outside her home in London.

The 45-year-old said she was then charged £5 for the cancelled journey, leaving her ‘baffled’ and ‘horrified’ by the experience, which Uber has pledged to investigate.

Sam Barbic said the driver screamed at her and grabbed her arm to pull her from his vehicle outside her home in London

The operation – a laryngectomy – saw her voice box removed, meaning she now speaks softly, with long pauses, by pressing against the hole in her airway.

Sam, 45, from Kensal Rise, said: ‘I got the standard Uber text saying he had arrived, so I went downstairs to find him. I walked round the corner and saw the car but he drove off.

‘So I called him – the first thing I always say is that I have had an operation, please bear with me.

‘I have had a total laryngectomy from throat cancer so my voice is faint with lots of pauses and very gravelly.

‘He kept saying he couldn’t hear me and hanging up. I rang him three times asking him to come back and pick me up.’

Sam was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and had her entire throat removed and replaced with parts of her intestine

Sam then saw there was a function on Uber to text the driver so messaged him explaining she had had a throat operation and could he come back to pick me up.

She added: ‘I then got in the car and asked him why he had driven off. He immediately said: “Get out of the car, I’m not driving you”.

‘I was stunned. I asked what the problem was and explained I had had throat cancer and that was why my voice was funny.

‘He just kept saying: “Get out the car, get out of the car now”. The more I tried to explain to him the more he insisted I get out.

‘He then got out of the car and opened the passenger door screaming at me to get out. I went to get out of the car and he took hold of my arm to ensure I got out of the car.

‘He then drove straight off leaving me standing there. I was in a terrible state, in shock, horrified at how I’d been treated and baffled as to why.

‘I no longer breathe through my nose or mouth and have a hole in my neck where I breathe. I wear a plaster over this so it is very clear to anyone I have had surgery.

‘I used to wear a scarf but I find people respond better when they can see I have a problem than when I try to hide it.’

Sam said: ‘The only thing I was thankful for was that I was outside my flat and not stranded in the middle of nowhere trying to get home.

‘I emailed Uber a complaint about him and got an automated reply saying the matter was resolved. They also charged me £5 for cancelling the fare.

‘They have since called me saying they are extremely concerned about the incident but I missed the call. When I tried to call back, I couldn’t get through.

‘I had extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy but was told my only option for survival was a total laryngectomy.

‘This involved removing my entire throat and building me a new throat with my intestine.

Sam, who works as a set designer, was hoping to travel to Covent Garden to meet a friend when the incident allegedly occurred at around 6.45pm on Thursday

‘My voice box was removed as part of the surgery and I spent one year unable to speak at all, but following further surgery had a small valve installed which enabled me to talk.

‘In order to speak I have to press the hole in my neck to block the airway and send air into my mouth so I can make sounds.

‘My speech is understandable but takes a bit of time to get used to as I have to pause for breath a lot.

‘It’s not very loud and I’ve been told I sound a bit like Darth Vader, but I’m hardly threatening. I’m a short middle-aged woman.’

An Uber spokesman said: ‘We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Sam. We’re looking into this as a matter of urgency.

‘We’re waiting to speak to all parties so we can fully investigate this incident and take the appropriate action.’

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

Minicab driver overturned his car after taking cocaine

A private hire driver crashed into parked cars and overturned his private hire car after taking cocaine.

David Deacon said a passenger had previously left the wrap of white powder in his cab so he put some on his finger and tasted it.

Deacon, 31, now a packer in a biscuit factory, of Elgin Place, Grange Park, pleaded guilty to drug driving.

He was banned from the road for 12 months, fined £320 with £40 costs and ordered to pay £32 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates. Prosecutor, Martine Connah, said Deacon was taken to hospital on July 3 at 1am after he crashed his electric Nissan Leaf cab into several parked cars and then overturned on the resort’s Lytham Road.

A blood test showed he was almost seven times over the limit with 73 units of cocaine in his body – the specified limit is 10 units.

Gary McAnulty, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, was driving his minicab that night when he found the wrap of powder which had been left in his cab.

He had put his finger in it and tried some, not thinking anything about it. Deacon was suffering from blackouts and had had two previously. He had now given up driving minicabs.

Read more at: http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/

Carlisle cabbie wins five-month fight to get parking fine quashed

A cabbie given a £70 parking ticket as he picked up a pensioner in a wheelchair has won his battle to have the fine quashed.

Jimmy Shankland, 61, was furious when a traffic warden slapped the fine on his taxi’s windscreen – despite knowing he was about to pick up an elderly couple from outside Carlisle’s Scotch Street Post Office.

To his astonishment, the civil enforcement officer suggested that the couple – an 85-year-old blind woman in a wheelchair and her 88-year-old husband – should move to a shop loading bay 120 yards away.

It would have taken him 45 seconds to get the elderly couple into his taxi but he was ticketed before he could do, said Mr Shankland.

After battling for five months, the taxi driver has finally overturned the fine, proving it should never have been imposed. He lodged two appeals against it with Cumbria County Council and both were rejected.

So he took the case to the national Traffic Penalty Tribunal – and won.

In his ruling, adjudicator Edward Solomons said Mr Shankland had not parked illegally on the morning of May 20.

Nor should not have been fined.

Mr Solomons accepted Mr Shankland’s explanation that he was legally obliged to collect his pre-booked passengers.

The Adjudicator also expressed surprise that the warden involved suggested sending the elderly couple to a shop’s loading bay 120 yards away, across a busy city centre road junction.

He said this was inappropriate given their age and the woman’s disability. “I’ve never been so upset,” said Mr Shankland, from Belah.

“I’d arrived in to Scotch Street to pick up my pre-booked passengers and was about to put down my ramp when an ambulance appeared. There was ample room for it to get past. But I moved my taxi anyway to make more room.

“That was when the civil enforcement officer appeared and told me I’d have to move my taxi because it was causing an obstruction. It wasn’t.

“There was plenty of room.

“I explained my situation, saying that I’d arrived to pick up a disabled passenger and her husband. It would have been illegal for me not to pick up her as I’d been booked. I told him it would take less than two minutes to get her in the taxi.

“But he suggested that they should move to the loading bay outside Tysons. That was 120 yards away on West Tower Street, and across a busy junction. Then he told me: ‘Move now or you’ll get a parking ticket.’

“Then he issued the ticket. I was appalled.

“If the enforcement officer had left me to do my job, it would have taken 45 seconds to get my passengers in the taxi.”

After his appeal was twice turned down by the county council, Mr Shankland refused to back down. A taxi driver in the city for 16 years, he lodged a final appeal with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

Giving his reasons for upholding the appeal, Mr Solomons said: “I was surprised at the suggestion by the civil enforcement officer (CEO) that the vehicle should be moved to the loading bay.

“Apart from the fact that this was inappropriate in the light of the disability of the passengers and the distance of the loading bay, it seems to me that the CEO may have misunderstood the difference between loading and boarding/alighting exemptions…

“Essentially, I find there was no contravention because the taxi was stopped for the exempt purpose of allowing pre-booked passengers to board.”

Commenting on that ruling, Mr Shankland added: “It should never have gone this far. I’ve lost two days work fighting this. Perhaps the Council should give its officers more training to be sure they know the rules.”

The Adjudicator’s ruling was welcomed by the couple Mr Shankland was collecting that day, Jack and Jean Hood, of Newlaithes Avenue, Morton.

“It should never have happened,” said Mr Hood. “Jimmy’s always given us good service.”

Mr Shankland was supported by Wayne Casey, chairman of the Carlisle Taxi Drivers’ Association.

He pointed out that taxi drivers are entitled to wait as long as it takes to get a customer in and out of a vehicle.” By law, taxi drivers cannot refuse to give disabled people in wheelchairs a lift or charge them extra.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said the authority felt the ticket was correctly issued but it accepted the Adjudicator’s decision.

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

Illegal private-hire driver fined at court

A man has been fined after being spotted driving a taxi in Burnley without a private hire licence.

Abdul Majeed, of Albert Street, Brierfield, pleaded guilty driving a private hire vehicle without a current licence, and guilty to using a vehicle without insurance.

He was fined £120 and ordered to pay £200 costs and a £30 victim surcharge by Burnley magistrates.

He also had eight penalty points put on his driving licence.

The court was told that Majeed held a private hire driver’s licence between October 2012 and October 2015.

However, when he applied to renew his licence the application was refused by Burnley Council, a decision upheld by magistrates on appeal.

On May 12th this year a council officer was at a Burnley petrol station when he saw a Vauxhall Vectra car displaying private hire signage at one of the pumps.

He recognised Majeed who put fuel in the car, paid up and then drove off in it.

Majeed was subsequently asked to attend an interview under caution but despite several requests he refused to make himself available or keep appointments, the magistrates were told.

In July a council officer spoke to the operator of the private hire firm involved who said he had been on holiday at the time of the offence and knew nothing about it.

He confirmed Majeed did not have permission or authority to drive the private hire vehicle. As such Majeed was not insured to drive it.

Read more at: http://www.burnleyexpress.net/

Government department raises concern over Sheffield Council’s new policy on private hire

A Government department has raised concern at Sheffield Council’s changes to its taxi licensing policy.

The Competitions and Markets Authority raised a number of issues as plans were laid out on new policy for private hire taxi firms in the city.

The CMA said they were concerned about new rule restricting drivers to work for one private hire operator and making firms have a permanently staffed helpline based in the city.

The body also said It was ‘not necessary’ to require all firms to offer seven day advance bookings.

CMA acting chief executive Andrea Coscelli, sent a letter to Sheffield Council’s licensing boss Steve Lonnia expressing their worries consumers could end up paying more through the extra restrictions.

But Sheffield Council said they had taken on board the CMA’s and passed the new private hire policy with some amendments.

A CMA spokesman said: “Last year we looked at the Sheffield market and cleared a merger of major taxi/private hire firms because we expected competition from app-based operators.

The letter explains why some planned Council measures may stifle competition without necessarily benefitting consumers.

“It is not necessary to require a permanently staffed helpline within the city – this increases costs for operators, which passengers will then pay for;

“Only allowing owner-drivers to work for one operator means they are all likely to choose the biggest operator, so passengers could end up with only one operator to choose from, and thus there is no competition.”

Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment at Sheffield Council said: “The Licensing Committee approved a new Private Hire Operator & Vehicle Policy with some minor amendments.

“We listened to the concerns raised against some of the proposed conditions and made changes to the policy to address this. We will continue working with the Government and taxi operators to ensure our residents and visitors feel safe when travelling in Sheffield.”

Letter to council – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s … -09-16.pdf

Read more at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/governmen … -1-8164714

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.

Read more at http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk

Tories launch crackdown on illegal taxi drivers to cut immigration

Home Secretary Amber Rudd tells Birmingham conference she wants to get tough on immigration

Tories are launching a crackdown on immigrant taxi drivers working illegally in the UK, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.

The profession was singled out by Mrs Rudd in her speech to the party conference in Birmingham, as she promised to “get immigration under control”.

Net migration, currently 335,000 a year, would be reduced to “tens of thousands”, she said.

Mrs Rudd said quitting the European Union would mean an end to open-door migration from Europe – but the Government also wanted to cut immigration from the rest of the world.

And she announced a £140m Controlling Migration Fund to help public services in areas with high numbers of immigrants.

It’s similar to a policy announced by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at his party conference last week.

Setting out plans to cut immigration in her ICC speech, she said: “From December, immigration checks will be a mandatory requirement for those wanting to get a licence to drive a taxi.”

While she didn’t give any explanation of why taxi drivers were being targeted rather than people in any other line of work, the policy only makes sense is if the Government believes there is currently a problem with people who have no right to work in the UK driving taxis.

Other measures include making it a criminal offence for a landlord knowingly to rent out property to people who have no right to be here.

And banks will have to do regular checks to ensure they are not providing essential banking services to illegal migrants.

The Home Secretary announced measures likely to anger employers and universities.

She said the Government is to consider tightening the test companies have to take before recruiting from abroad, effectively making it harder for firms to recruit foreign staff.

Mrs Rudd said: “The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do.

“But it’s become a tick box exercise, allowing some firms to get away with not training local people. We won’t win in the world if we don’t do more to upskill our own workforce.”

And she said rules which allow students to work in the UK will be toughened up – for the less prestigious universities.

“Our consultation will ask what more can we do to support our best universities – and those that stick to the rules – to attract the best talent, while looking at tougher rules for students on lower quality courses.”

She insisted: “This Government will not waver in its commitment to put the interests of the British people first. Reducing net migration back down to sustainable levels will not be easy. But I am committed to delivering it on behalf of the British people.”

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