An Accrington private hire operator pleaded guilty to two offences when he came before Blackburn Magistrates recently. The first was operating a vehicle which wasn’t licensed as a private hire vehicle and the second was operating a private hire vehicle when the driver was not licensed as a private hire driver.

Malik Mahmood-Ul Hassan of Blackburn Road, Rishton, operating as Rawal Private Hire, admitted using a driver and vehicle licensed by Preston City Council to carry out a contract under his Hyndburn operator’s licence. This contravened legislation which requires an operator to only operate vehicles and drivers that have licences issued by the same district as them.

The court was told that Hyndburn Borough Council Licensing Officers were alerted by Lancashire County Council when a young person complained to Lancashire County Council’s Integrated Transport Manager about inappropriate behaviour of a driver. When first questioned by an officer from Lancashire County Council, Mr Hassan gave the name of a driver licensed in Hyndburn, further enquiries, the court was told, revealed that this was incorrect and Mr Hassan then admitted that he had used a Preston driver to carry out the contract. When interviewed under caution by Hyndburn Borough Council Mr Ul Hassan said he was fully aware that all drivers who carry out contracts for Lancashire County Council must have been cleared to do so and must have an enhanced red badge to ensure the safeguarding of any children travelling.

Mr Ul Hassan was fined £440 and ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £44.

Following the hearing of the case Hyndburn’s Licensing Officer expressed concern that Mr Hassan had shown a total disregard for the safeguarding of a child passenger. It also meant that any insurance policy for the Preston licensed vehicle was void as the driver was not operating in accordance with the legislation.

Council Leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson OBE, said;

“The safety of our travelling public and safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is paramount. In this case the driver did not have a licence to operate in Hyndburn and the private hire operator also admitted that he knew that the driver did not have the red badge, showing a total disregard for the safety of any child transported by him. Also the insurance policy relating to the Preston licensed vehicle would have been classed as void as the driver was not operating in accordance with the legislation.”