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Driver counts cost of letting car be used as taxi without licence during Henley Regatta

A driver who let his car be used as a taxi during the Henley Regatta despite the vehicle  being unlicensed has been ordered to pay more than £1,500 in fines and costs.

Raja Ilyas Hussain, 43, of Doolittle Avenue, High Wycombe, was found guilty of permitting his vehicle to be used as a hackney carriage without a licence and without the appropriate insurance at Oxford Magistrates’ Court at a hearing on 15 January, following a prosecution brought forward by South Oxfordshire District Council.

The court heard that on 15 August 2021, a vehicle belonging to Mr Hussain was observed to be displaying a “taxi” roof sign on Thameside in Henley on Thames.

But the vehicle was not displaying the required licence plate on the rear, which would identify it as a licensed vehicle.

Licensing Enforcement Officers, who were working in Henley-on-Thames during the annual Regatta in 2021,  approached the vehicle to see whether the vehicle was licensed to be working in Henley. But the vehicle drove off immediately after officers identified themselves.

The court also heard that Mr Hussain had previously held a driver’s licence with South Oxfordshire District Council, so would have been fully aware of the requirements for drivers and vehicles to be licensed, insured and safety checked in order to carry members of the public.

After being found guilty, Mr Hussain was fined £440 for the unlawful plying for hire and £660 for not having the required insurance.  Mr Hussain was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £440 and £800 towards prosecution costs. Mr Hussain’s was also given 8 penalty points on his driving licence.

The case was originally heard at the Magistrates’ Court in March 2022, but Mr Hussain applied for the case to be reopened, with the matter then heard in January 2024.

Councillor David Rouane, South Oxfordshire District Council Leader and responsible for Licensing and Community Safety, said: “As they are responsible for the safety of every person they convey in their vehicles, taxi drivers are legally required to have the correct licences before they start work.

“Safety is our number one priority and so we will take action against anyone working without a licence.”