Unlicensed Peterlee taxi driver caught operating in Gateshead

A former taxi driver who had his private hire licence suspended was caught behind the wheel of a taxi just six weeks later.

Peter Gallimore, 43, of Barsloan Grove, Peterlee, was taken to court by Durham County Council, charged with driving a private hire vehicle without the correct licence and driving without valid insurance.

Gallimore was stripped of his hackney carriage and private hire drivers’ licence back in June 2017, when a licensing sub-committee heard he had been convicted of speeding and so suspended his licence for a three month period.

However, Gallimore was subsequently witnessed driving a private hire Mercedes V Class through Gateshead, just six weeks into his suspension.

Furthermore, a check of the insurance policy on the vehicle revealed that the policy was only valid if the driver held a private hire driving licence.

Appearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, the defendant pleaded guilty to both offences, and in mitigation said he was running a taxi company on behalf of a friend who was on holiday.

When a job had arisen which he wasn’t able to cover, Gallimore claimed he panicked and took it on himself.

Magistrates fined Gallimore £445, and ordered him to pay costs of £279.51 and a victim surcharge of £45.

Six points were also endorsed on the defendant’s driving licence, which resulted in an immediate six month disqualification due to previous motoring convictions.

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “The purpose of taxi and private hire licensing is to protect the public.

“Passengers and other road users need to be safe and driving a vehicle without any valid insurance places others at risk.

“I hope this prosecution sends a strong message to unlicensed taxi drivers that there are serious consequences for ignoring the law.

“In Mr Gallimore’s case, this means paying hundreds of pounds in fines and court fees, and ultimately the loss of his driving licence.”

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