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Taxi firms warned about rules by council

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 19, 2012

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COUNCIL bosses in Tewkesbury borough say a successful prosecution shows they are serious about enforcing taxi regulations.

The borough council took taxi driver Daren Cook to court for allowing an unlicensed person to drive his cab in Tewkesbury.

Cook was fined by Cheltenham magistrates as, although he was a licensed operator with a licensed taxi, he allowed someone to drive it who was not authorised to do so.

After the case, the council said it would continue to crack down on taxi rule breaches in order to protect the public.

Its lead member for community development, Councillor Sue Hillier-Richardson said: "Our private hire drivers are required to meet high standards to hold a licence, which includes extensive background checks, and we take this responsibility very seriously for the sake of our residents' safety

"Our advice to members of the public is to only use licensed vehicles, which will always have a licence plate with the council's logo, and all licensed drivers should display a photo ID.

"If anyone has any concerns about a private hire vehicle they have used, I encourage them to get in touch with the council."

The court heard that Cook, of Fairway, Northway, Tewkesbury, committed the offence during this year's medieval festival on July 14. The 45-year-old provided a shuttle service between the Gloucester Road event and the nearby Lower Lode Inn.

Although he used a licensed private hire vehicle, he used an unlicensed driver without the correct insurance – Mathew Bridgwater, 25, from Worcester.

Following complaints from other taxi drivers, the council investigated. Both men admitted that Bridgwater had driven the vehicle belonging to Cook, at Cook's request.

Magistrates fined Cook £200 and ordered him to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £200 costs.

Bridgwater was convicted of using a vehicle without the appropriate insurance plan being in place. He was fined £100, ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £100 costs.

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  • jaglady  |  January 15 2013, 9:04PM

    Well this is no suprise to me,This is the council all over they put Mr Cook in court and win the case, Take all the praise for the it,Then they drag there feet. All they are doing it for is the headline to make themselfs look good. Well its about time they got a right good slap down for it. Try this for size. MISS SUE HILLIER RICHARDSON get off your bottom and do the job the tax payer pays you for. You are putting a lot of trust in Mr Cook, Has he got insurance now HAVE YOU CHECKED,who is driving for him. Are they licensed HAVE YOU CHECKED. It has been over a month from the court case and 7 months from the offence, Mr Cook is laughing at the council. I would like to ask the ECHO as a news paper why they have not reported all the facts of this case there is a convicted taxi driver driving around picking up the public and tewkesbury council are allowing this to happen. We read about taxi drivers all over the uk being taken off the road licenses been revoked or band from ever holding a taxi license, so what is going on with Mr Cook. National News Paper time i think, This cant be over looked.

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  • Dc-Tewks  |  January 15 2013, 3:37PM

    Seems very strange to me that so long after the court apperance this guy is still driving and operating a taxi service!! What is goin on! Anywhere else in the country this guy would have been of the road instantly!!!!

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  • Taxipro  |  December 23 2012, 11:50PM

    Note to gloucester echo Please can you report on this story as and when MR COOK AND HIS DRIVER are in front of the commitee. We would all like to know how things go on this very very much. As a worcestershire taxi firm we would like to know the outcome. Thank you very much for your coverage so far. I think the public reaction you have on this story is of outrage and shock that MR COOK is still driving a taxi in tewkesbury. Please please please keep us upto date with this and thank you great report.

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  • Dc-Tewks  |  December 22 2012, 6:10PM

    I think the public would like Mr Cook to do the decent thing....STOP TRADING RIGHT NOW.

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  • criminal2  |  December 22 2012, 1:43PM

    Darren Michael Cook, 45, of Fairway, Northway, Tewkesbury. Operating as a private hire vehicle without a licence or insurance. Fined £200, £215 costs, six penalty points

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  • criminal2  |  December 22 2012, 1:21AM

    Daren cook and Tewkesbury Taxis needs to get real and give up and visit the job centre! Would anyone that knows of this get into a cab with this name on it! answer is yes because they are drunk and unaware, Unaware they could be getting into an illegal Taxi thinking its a genuine one, hey but the company is getting away with it.

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  • jaglady  |  December 21 2012, 11:31PM

    Just to let you all know i run wedding cars on p/h plates not Taxis. People like MR COOK damage the Taxi- p/hire industry and put insurance up. This will be my last comment.

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  • Taxipro  |  December 21 2012, 9:48PM

    Here we go again a taxi driver in the news. Let me just say i run a taxi not in tewkesbury i work in the city of worcester. There is nothing on this site that will dig this taxi driver and his boss out of the drain pipe they have fell into by now this man and his driver are on there way around the u bend. I have some bad news for mr cook and mr bridgwater you will be put in front of the licensing commitee and you will be taken off the road. The thing is it can take a month to get a commitee meeting up together but it is going to happen. I have been following this story and its comments with other taxi drivers the public do need to speek out but you have nothing to be concerned about they will be sorted out. Tewkesbury you have worcester cabbies behind you all the way.

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  • jaglady  |  December 21 2012, 6:16PM

    All comments that are genuine comments will not have any bearing on anything the council decide to do to Mr Cook and his driver.You seem to have control problems yourself sir RABID taxi drivers, if anyone wants to take step back its you sir. I used to travel with this taxi company,if i would have know that there was a chance they were running with illegal drivers and no insurance i would not have used them. The public have every right to know what this man has been upto and above all what the council intend to do about him and his driver. So please go back and study your law books again.But please dont choke.

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  • howitis  |  December 21 2012, 5:53PM

    Also, as someone who has studied law, I think every taxi driver who is calling for Mr Cook's licence to be revoked on here may just be harming the chances of him getting booted out as when the council do finally get round to deciding whether he has to lose his licence or not he could very easily claim that all these negative comments on here have prejudiced his right to a fair trial. If he does not get a fair trial, some human rights judge somewhere will probably give him back his license even if the council took it off him. I think perhaps some people should take a step back and think for five minutes about the consequences of their actions that is all.

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