Updated: Monday, 13th July 2020 @ 9:36pm

‘Never any excuse’: Cab drivers fined £1,200 for illegal Stone Roses journeys after Manchester gigs

‘Never any excuse’: Cab drivers fined £1,200 for illegal Stone Roses journeys after Manchester gigs

By Helen Le Caplain

Manchester cab drivers were fined more than £1,200 last week for illegally picking up customers after last summer’s Stone Roses concerts.

The court heard that Manchester City Council licensing officers were looking out for illegal cab drivers outside Heaton Park after all three concerts.

Shahid Iqbal from Abbey Hills Road in Oldham pleaded guilty to the offence at Manchester Magistrates’ Court last Friday.

He was spotted allowing two men into his Oldham-licensed private hire car on Middleton Road on July 1 and offering to take them into Manchester city centre.

The licensing officers interviewed Iqbal, aged 39, on the street who claimed he had been waiting for a friend.

He was fined £200 with £300 costs and a £15 victims of crime surcharge.

Private hire drivers are legally only allowed to pick up customers on pre-booked jobs and journeys are not insured if the driver takes people from the street.

Another two drivers, Mazher Hussain from Oswald Street in Rochdale and Atif Itqbal from Manchester Road in Oldham, also pleaded guilty to picking up passengers from the street despite their hackney carriages being licensed with other authorities, during hearings on January 16.

They were both fined £100 with £300 costs and £15 victims of crime surcharges.

Hussain, 36, and Iqbal, 29, both offered to take plain clothed licensing officers into the city centre.

Another six cab drivers are due to appear before magistrates over the next few months charged with illegally picking up passengers after the concerts.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, said: "Last summer’s Stone Roses concerts attracted 70,000 people every night.

"Unfortunately there were some cab drivers who wanted to capitalise on this by illegally picking up passengers from the street, without any regard for their passengers’ safety as these journeys would not have been insured.

"We had warned cab drivers not to attempt this as there would be licensing officers on the scene, while we also set up a rank for legitimate black cab drivers.

“There is never any excuse for this and we will also continue to watch out for illegal cab drivers in the city centre."

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Picture courtesy of Stormcab, with thanks.