A taxi driver has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 and had six points added to his DVLA licence for illegally plying for hire at the Henley Regatta.

On Friday, May 3, Ihsan Mehmood of York Road in Reading was convicted of unlawful plying for hire and operating without the correct insurance.

The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges.

On June 30, 2023, Mehmood was caught as the result of a test purchase operation carried out by South Oxfordshire District Council licensing enforcement officers and colleagues from other authorities.

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Oxford Mail: Henley Regatta is a popular annual event.Henley Regatta is a popular annual event. (Image: Oxford Mail)

At a sentencing hearing at Oxford Magistrates' Court, magistrates heard how Mr Mehmood’s would have targeted unsuspecting members of the public.

While there was no evidence Mr Mehmood overcharged his passengers, the court heard how unlicensed journeys undermined public safety.

In mitigation, Mehmood said he understood the mistake he had made.

Mehmood also told the court that Reading Borough Council were likely to revoke his private hire license following these convictions.

Mehmood was advised that it was up to Reading Borough Council to impose any further penalties they deemed appropriate in line with their licensing policy.

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Oxford Mail: Hundreds of thousands attend Henley Regatta each year.Hundreds of thousands attend Henley Regatta each year.

When sentencing, magistrates took into account Mehmood’s early guilty plea and minimal income and imposed a £200 fine for the unlawful plying for hire and a £200 fine for not having the correct level of insurance.

They also ordered Mehmood to pay a £160 victim surcharge and £500 towards prosecution costs.

Additionally, six penalty points were imposed on his DVLA licence in relation to the insurance offence.

David Rouane, cabinet member for legal and democratic services at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Another positive result for our Enforcement Team who work hard to make sure unlicensed and consequently uninsured, taxis are stopped from operating in our district.

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Oxford Mail: Henley Regatta.Henley Regatta.

“We often work with colleagues from neighbouring councils to make sure we can stop taxi drivers illegally plying for hire and ensure the safety of our residents.

“South Oxfordshire District Council will look to prosecute any driver caught plying for Hire.

“Such illegal activity will not be tolerated, and our team of licensing officers will continue to be vigilant and take legal action against anyone breaking the rules.”

Henley Royal Regatta saw a rise in the number of arrests in 2023 as police hailed a 'successful policing and security operation.'

Thames Valley Police arrested 16 people over the course of the six-day annual rowing event from Tuesday, June 27, to Sunday, July 2 - up from 13 the year before.