A County Durham man has been ordered to pay over £800 after operating a private hire vehicle without having a current private hire operators’ licence.
Durham County Council took legal action against Kyle Stones, of Priors Grange, HighPittington, after receiving information that a taxi company was advertising on Facebook, possibly without the required licence.
When officers checked its taxi database with the telephone number advertised, it matched
the number given in Stones’ driver application to become a licensed driver with the council.
However, the 21-year-old had not completed the process and had withdrawn his
application in November last year.
Enforcement officers telephoned the advertised number, in March of this year, and they
were able to make a booking for a vehicle to collect them from Durham and take them to
When the vehicle arrived, it displayed a Newcastle Private Hire Plate Number. Subsequent
enquiries with Newcastle City Council confirmed that Stones was a licensed private hire
driver with a licensed vehicle, but that he did not hold a private hire operators’ licence.
The law requires that all private hire vehicles can only be booked via a private hire
operator. It also states that the private hire operator, private hire driver and private hire
vehicle must all be licensed and licensed with the same operator.
Stones, who refused to attend an interview with the council and did not attend Peterlee
Magistrates Court, pleaded guilty by post to operating a vehicle without a private hire
He was fined £200 and ordered to pay £650 costs and £34 victim surcharge, totalling
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection, said: “Legislation
ensures proper processes and safeguards are in place so that the public can have
confidence in the private hire trade. It is therefore vital that private hire operators have the
“We hope this case serves as a warning to anyone else who is considering operating as a
private hire operator without having the necessary licence, as we will take action against
anyone who does not meet these requirements.”