No hackney licence

PUBLISHED: 11:17 06 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010

A FORMER employee of Fencabs of Ely was landed with a court bill for more than £1,000 this week after being convicted of picking up an elderly woman from a hairdressing salon when he had no hackney carriage licence. An observant council officer spotted Da

A FORMER employee of Fencabs of Ely was landed with a court bill for more than £1,000 this week after being convicted of picking up an elderly woman from a hairdressing salon when he had no hackney carriage licence.

An observant council officer spotted Daya Gunawaradena with a Fencabs vehicle in Chequer Lane at Ely, ushering the pensioner into a vehicle.

Gunawaradena then got into the cab, and had the engine running when licensing officer Rowland Wilson approached him.

All hackney carriage drivers must be licensed by East Cambridgeshire District Council, to ensure they are a fit and proper person.

"No application had been received by the council, so we were not able to test whether he was a fit and proper person," said prosecutor Maggie Camp.

"There is concern that an unlicensed person has access to vulnerable people."

Gunawaradena, formerly of St Ovin's Green in Ely, but now living in Harrow, had denied acting as a driver of a hackney carriage by driving a passenger from Chequer Lane, Ely, on October 31 last year, and had further denied driving the vehicle without insurance.

Defending solicitor Michael Judkins said Gunawaradena had acted as a chaperone to the elderly woman, and had been waiting for a cab driver to arrive.

Gunawaradena is now looking for a new job, and has plans to return to Sri Lanka.

"We believe the defendant, having collected the old lady from the hairdresser's, intended to drive," said presiding magistrate Susan Thompson.

Gunawaradena was fined £450 with £649 costs. Eight points were put on his driving record.

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