Unlicensed private hire owner operating in Uttlesford prosecuted

AN UTTLESFORD man who ran an unlicensed private hire vehicle company in Stansted has been ordered to pay more than £2,000 by magistrates.

Mr Robert Makepeace was ordered to pay £2,315 in fines and costs, arising from an illegal private hire operation. Mr Makepeace is the proprietor of Ardent Parking of Parsonage Lane in Stansted. The firm parks cars for people using Stansted Airport and provides a private hire vehicle to take its customers to and from the airport.

The firm was previously licensed as an operator for this purpose, the licence being held by one of Mr Makepeace’s former partners. However, no application was made to renew the licence and as a result it lapsed on 31 March 2012.

Uttlesford District Council enforcement officers visited the firm’s premises on 13 April 2012 and explained to Mr Makepeace that there was no current operator’s licence. He was therefore no longer able to ferry customers legally to and from the airport. However, despite that advice Mr Makepeace continued with business as usual.

At Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 9 January he was fined £800, together with a £15 witness surcharge and was ordered to pay £1,500 towards the council’s costs.

The Chairman of Uttlesford District Council’s Licensing and Environmental Health Committee Councillor Doug Perry said: “Mr Makepeace continued to operate illegally, even though Council Officers had advised him otherwise. Licensing requirements are there to protect the public and keep them safe. This particular company had no regard at all for its passengers or the law.”