A man who posed as a taxi driver around the streets of Liverpool has been banned from getting behind the wheel after a city council sting.
Mruan Elkehya was found to be plying for trade throughout the city centre on five different occasions across a two-month investigation by Liverpool Council’s taxi licensing officials.
Officers were first alerted to the fake taxi driver’s conduct when he was stopped in February this year and produced an out-of-date driver’s badge.
Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to ten charges at Liverpool Magistrates Court.
Although previously a private hire licence holder in the city, Mr Elkehya was found to be driving without valid insurance if he had stopped to pick up passengers. He also gave assurances to city officials he was in the process of renewing his details.
In the weeks running up to Wednesday 8 March, he was stopped four more times when he was witnessed dropping people off in the city centre and displaying magnetic taxi door signs for companies he didn’t work for, and even on one occasion had two Liverpool Council magnetic signs on display. Mr Elkehya was cautioned for the offences by the City Council team and then by Merseyside Police.
On 6 July, he pleaded guilty to ten charges including acting as a private hire vehicle driver, driving without insurance and plying for hire without a licence. He received 24 penalty points on his DVLA licence and was disqualified for driving for 12 months.
In addition, he was also fined £440, has to pay costs of £325 and a surcharge of £176.
Councillor Harry Doyle, Liverpool Council cabinet member with responsibility for taxi licensing, said, “Cracking down on drivers posing as taxi drivers is critical in our commitment to safeguarding residents and visitors, ensuring everyone is as safe as possible when they travel around our city. These rogue drivers not only jeopardise the wellbeing of unsuspecting passengers but also undermine the credibility of legitimate taxi services.
“By operating without the necessary licences and insurance, they create a hazardous environment on our roads, leaving innocent lives at risk. The severity of this ban, penalty points and fine sends out a strong message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and our proactive team will do everything they can to keep people like this off our streets.
“I’d like to congratulate the team for their work in making sure every journey is a safe and secure, provided by licensed, responsible and trustworthy drivers.”
Image: Lisa Fotios