Plymouth taxi operator fined for running firm without a licence
A TAXI operator has been fined after she ran her private hire firm before the council had approved her licence.
Susan Colwill of Hornchurch road, Ernesettle appeared at Plymouth magistrates court yesterday where she pleaded guilty to operating vehicles as a private hire from an address in Wolseley Road without having a current operator's licence.
The court heard how a joint operation by taxi licensing officers and Plymouth police officers on May 12 this year at the Barbican uncovered the case, which was brought by Plymouth City Council.
Officers saw a Ford Mondeo with two passengers and noticed the driver, Paul Colwill, and the name of the firm on the side "Call A Cab".
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The taxi licensing officers were aware that the firm had not been granted an operator's licence, and that the application had been made by Mr Colwill's wife.
Investigators contacted Mrs Colwill who admitted she had wrongly assumed she could take bookings while the application was going through.
The court heard she immediately suspended the taxi work and handed over all relevant paperwork.
The court also heard she had previously held an operator's licence for three years.
Colwill, who represented herself, read from a statement which said she acted "without malice" and had shut down the firm's phones and office immediately.
She also explained the past few months awaiting court hearing had seen her family suffer from a reduced income and she was only employed by another taxi firm on a part-time basis as the majority did not want her to work for them, knowing she was planning on running her own firm.
Magistrates fined Colwill £200, ordered her to pay £300 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.