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Bogus taxi driver from Stoneleigh jailed for two years

17/07/2013

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 By Hardeep Matharu

Click here to read on the This is Local London website.

A man who tried to pass himself off as a black cab driver has been jailed for two years.

Terence O’Leary, 51, of Stoneleigh Broadway, Epsom, was spotted in January driving a black cab in London with forged area identifiers – displayed on a sticker inside all black cabs with the licence details of the driver.

He was arrested and police found a forged taxi driver licence and three forged taxi driver badges when they searched his home address.

While he was on bail, information was received by the police that O’Leary was trying to hire a taxi from a company using a licence that appeared to be forged and he was again arrested.

O’Leary, who has never been a licensed taxi driver, appeared at Kingston Crown Court earlier this month and was jailed for two years for nine offences under the Fraud Act.

imageThe five-month investigation into the offences was led by the Met Police’s safer transport command (STC), in partnership with TfL’s taxi and private hire directorate (TPH).

Helen Chapman, TfL’s general manager of TPH, said it welcomed O’Leary’s sentence.

She added: "It is a stark reminder that the only way to become a legitimate taxi driver is through hard work and dedication by passing the world famous Knowledge of London."

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s acting director of community safety, enforcement and policing, added: "Fraudulent activities that put the travelling public at risk or undermine the legitimate and law-abiding taxi trade will not be tolerated."

Neighbouring Mole Valley Council released a statement this week saying that it has "rigorous checking and licensing procedures" in place to assure people are hailing or ordering properly licensed and regulated taxis.

It said it was making the comments "following a number of recent public safety incidents in other districts".

Councillor James Friend said: "Our advice is to make sure you check for the roof sign and registration plate before getting into a cab and don’t forget, private hire cars are not licensed to pick up passengers on the street – they must be booked ahead."

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/

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