‘Suspected illegal taxi’ seized during enforcement operation

Ballymena Court

A SUSPECTED ‘illegal taxi’ was seized in the Glens during an enforcement operation, Ballymena Magistrates Court was told.

Kevin Barry McAuley (53) of Beachlands in Carnlough, pleaded guilty to charges of ‘using a taxi without a taxi licence’; ‘not having a taxi driver licence’; ‘not having a taxi operator’s licence’ and an insurance offence regarding a Vauxhall Insignia.

A prosecutor said an enforcement operation took place on August 3, 2019, when officials were at car park on Coast Road, Glenarm.

At 9.30pm a blue Vauxhall insignia “dropped off a passenger”.

An enforcement officer approached the vehicle “as it was suspected of being a taxi”.

The court heard DVA records showed it was not tested as a taxi or listed on a taxi operator’s licence and the driver did not hold a taxi driver’s licence.

The enforcement officer spoke to the passenger to confirm that they had sought a taxi and the court heard a £5 “fare” had been paid.

The prosecutor said the vehicle was seized as a “suspected illegal taxi”.

Defence solicitor Kevin MacAllister said the defendant said “by no means is this a commercial enterprise in any way, shape or form”.

The court heard the defendant said he was collecting his daughter and she was in the back of the car.

Mr MacAllister added: “It was opportunistic. The gentleman came and asked for a lift into Glenarm and he took that opportunity. £5 was exchanged.”

The court heard the defendant had health difficulties and the day after the court was due to get a ‘Mobility’ car so his licence would be crucial to get to appointments.

The defendant was given eight penalty points and fined £450.

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