Stansted taxi driver receives hefty penalty after court no-show
A driver with an airport parking company who was caught carrying passengers when he no longer had a licence to do so was found guilty in his absence after failing to appear at his latest court hearing.
Timothy Dodds, 50, was stopped by police while driving a private hire vehicle near Stansted Airport on November 19 last year.
But magistrates in Chelmsford heard that his licence to drive such vehicles had been revoked by Uttlesford District Council five months earlier.
Dodds, of Old Bury Lodge Lane, Stansted Mountfitchet, failed to attend the court hearing but was found guilty in his absence.
Councillor Doug Perry, chairman of the Licensing & Environmental Health Committee, said: “Timothy Dodds is not a fit and proper person to operate as a taxi or private hire driver.
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“His failure to appear in court was a clear admission of his guilt and I strongly urge anyone who sees him carrying passengers in the vicinity of the airport to notify the police immediately.”
Dodds was fined £400 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge as well as full prosecution costs of £490.92p.
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JPs heard that Dodds’ private hire licence was revoked in June 2012 by the Council’s Licensing and Environmental Health Committee after hearing he had been stopped on four separate occasions earlier that year at checkpoints operated near the airport by Council enforcement officers and Essex Police.
In April 2012 he was cautioned by police for driving a vehicle which was not licensed for private hire use, failing to display private hire plates and failing to wear a private hire driver’s badge.
He was stopped on three further occasions in May 2012 near the airport for driving an unlicensed vehicle or not wearing a private hire driver’s badge.
The Committee were told that on one of the occasions he had been stopped he was seen to have been smoking in his vehicle, contrary to licensing laws.
Dodds had also failed to notify the Council of a change in his address or that he had recently acquired a conviction for possessing cannabis, again contrary to licensing laws.
He was issued with a fixed penalty notice for the smoking offence and invited to attend the Council’s offices in Saffron Walden to be interviewed under caution regarding the other offences.
But the Committee heard he failed to pay the fixed penalty and did not turn up for his scheduled interview. As a result his licence was revoked.
Members were told that it was the second time Dodds had lost his licence as it had been suspended for 28 days in May 2011.
The suspension resulted after he failed to notify the Council that he had been fined £50 and given five penalty points for failing to stop after an accident at an hotel near the airport.
Dodds was later fined £600 and ordered to pay £606 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge by magistrates in Harlow after being charged in relation to the offences in April and May.