District council prosecution sees two defendants found guilty of operating vehicle without private hire licence

Cotswold District Council has prosecuted two individuals for operating a vehicle without a private hire licence and not fulfilling private hire operator requirements.

A complaint raised by a member of the public was investigated by the council’s Counter Fraud Unit Officers who made a booking with Harry Eva’s company, Cotswold & Burford Private Hire, in December 2019.

The booking was undertaken by Andrew Whitehead, without a driver licence and in an unlicensed vehicle.

Appearing at Cirencester Magistrates Court on 10 May 2021, Mr Eva and Mr Whitehead were found guilty of the offences. They were each fined £120 and ordered to pay costs to the council of £400 with a £32 victim surcharge.  

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The prosecution was undertaken by officers in the local authority’s Counter Fraud Unit, assisted by its Licensing and Enforcement team and Legal team.  

Cllr Andrew Doherty, Cabinet Member for Licensing at Cotswold District Council, said: “I would like to extend my thanks to the member of the public who raised concerns with us around this issue. As a Council, we take fraud of any kind very seriously and our Counter Fraud Officers will investigate all allegations of fraud and abuse to ensure we protect the public. 

“Taxi and Private Hire Operators have had a difficult time over the last year due to the pandemic and the important work of our Licensing team and Counter Fraud team helps to ensure that only safe, licensed vehicles are operating in our district.”

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