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 had advertised his illegal venture in a village newsletter, at a pub and online for a number of years, and the council had written to him reminding him of the legal position after they were alerted by the police and concerned members of the public, who reported him to the authority.
Rumsey ignored the letter and continued to promote and operate his services, and as a result an investigation was instigated, during which an undercover officer, acting on behalf of the council booked a journal was driven driven from Elham to the Ashford International station.
Rumsey was subsequently prosecuted by Folkestone and Hythe, and 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 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."
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.