Published: 11:36, 11 November 2019
| Updated: 12:02, 11 November 2019
A rogue and 'selfish' driver who ran an unlicensed taxi business has been ordered to pay more than £2,000.
The prosecution against Kelvin Rumsey from Elham, followed an undercover operation by Folkestone and Hythe District Council.
Rumsey, of The Orchards, had advertised his illegal venture in a village newsletter, at a pub and online for a number of years.
And the authority become aware of his actions after he attracted the interest of police and concerned members of the public, who reported him to the authority.
As a result, the council wrote to Rumsey reminding him of his legal responsibilities.
But he ignored the letter and continued to promote and operate the service.
During an investigation, a test ride was made by an undercover officer, acting on behalf of the council, who was driven from Elham to the Ashford International station.
After the trip the council then moved forward with its prosecution against Rumsey.
He pleaded guilty to three driving offences - not having a valid private hire driver licence, vehicle licence or an operator’s licence - at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court last week.
He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £605.80 and a £50 victim surcharge, bringing the total bill for his dishonest actions to £2,155.80.
Cllr David Monk, leader of the council, said: "This council will not tolerate such selfish behaviour from people running a business that puts our residents at risk.
"Unlicensed drivers do not have the correct insurance policy to operate a taxi service, meaning customers would not be covered if they were involved in a collision.
"Passenger safety is of paramount importance to the council, and this rogue business showed a complete disregard to the welfare of unsuspecting customers."
In addition, Rumsey's vehicle was 15 years’ old - that's despite the council requiring taxis to be no more than three years’ old when they are first licensed and no more than seven years on their final renewal, unless they are wheelchair accessible.
The authority has now issued a reminder to people to ensure they only get into a licensed private hire (pre-booked) or Hackney carriage (from a rank or hailed) vehicle.
They can be identified by a purple (PH) or orange (H) rectangular plate on the rear of the vehicle, showing the council's logo and a valid date.
Licensed drivers should be wearing a badge showing their licence number and a valid expiry date.