Havant private hire driver fined for illegal school run

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A PRIVATE hire driver to pay more than £1,250 for illegally driving a child to school.

John Elvis Wood, from Leigh Park, was a licensed private hire operator and private hire driver who had been contracted by Hampshire County Council’s schools transport department.

Mr Wood, of Boldre Close, was hired to drive a child from their home in Havant to a school in Portsmouth on a daily basis.

However, by the time he committed the offences in January 2016, Mr Wood’s vehicle licence was no longer valid, and his insurance for the vehicle was consequently cancelled.

He was twice caught illegally driving the unlicensed vehicle by licensing officers from Havant Borough Council.

Mr Wood appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on September 20.

After magistrates heard the case, they decided to impose fines on Mr Wood.

He was first charged £250 per offence of being a licensed private hire operator driving an unlicensed vehicle.

On top of the initial £500 fine, Mr Wood was forced to pay a total of £736.88 in court costs.

A victim surcharge of £30 was also imposed for offences of operating an unlicensed private hire vehicle to carry out the contracted school run. In total, Mr Wood was ordered to pay £1,266.88 for his offences.

No separate penalty was made for the two offences of driving an unlicensed vehicle, which were investigated separately by Hampshire Constabulary.

The outcome of police’s investigation is unknown.

Councillor Tony Briggs, deputy leader of Havant Borough Council, said: ‘Havant Borough Council takes this issue very seriously and is committed to protecting the safety of the public.

‘This conviction highlights the vigilance of our licensing team.

‘The use of an unlicensed vehicle is illegal and totally unacceptable and we will continue to work with Hampshire County Council to ensure that only licensed vehicles are used for contract work such as this.’

The family of the child were unavailable for comment.