Illegal taxi driver caught giving golfers lift home
A Carmarthen man was caught providing an illegal taxi service to a group of men returning from a golfing trip to Portugal.
Jason Vaughan, of Rydal Mount, Johnstown, was pulled over on the A48 between Pontabraham and Cross Hands in October 2018, as part of a joint operation between Carmarthenshire County Council licensing officers and Dyfed-Powys Police.
Vaughan was driving a black Peugeot Eurobus emblazoned with taxi markings as a Hackney Carriage, including door stickers, taxi plate and taxi roof sign.
However, known to the licensing officers, it was quickly established that he did not hold a taxi badge authorising him to drive a licensed Hackney Carriage or private hire vehicle – an offence he had been warned about just a few months before.
When questioned by officers about why he had picked up the seven fare-paying passengers from Bristol Airport that evening, he said “needs must, needed to pick up the boys”.
In interview under caution, Vaughan admitted the offence, saying he thought he would be covered by his insurance.
Carmarthenshire County Council, as a licensing authority, instigated a prosecution against Vaughan as an individual, and against his business JRV Cars Ltd.
The case was heard at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Friday, March 29, where he was convicted in his absence.
For driving a private hire vehicle without a licence he received a £750 fine, with £444.27 costs and £75 victim surcharge.
His company, JRV Cars Ltd, was also fined £750, with £444.27 costs and £75 victim surcharge, for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive a private hire vehicle.
Both offences were committed under section 146 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for enforcement, said: “As fare-paying passengers, members of the public should have complete confidence in taxi and private hire services. Proper licensing ensures that drivers are fully checked, and vehicles are roadworthy – it is not acceptable for someone to take money from people, and potentially put them at risk, just to avoid going through the proper licensing process.”