An illegal taxi driver who was prolifically operating without a licence has been fined £870 and banned from driving for 12 months.

Michael Cook, 62, from Forester Road, Portishead pleaded guilty to six offences and was told to pay over £2,000 in legal costs.

Mr Cook was caught following a long investigation by North Somerset Council with assistance from Avon and Somerset Police.

He had deliberately decided not to apply for a licence to operate a taxi, therefore avoiding vehicle safety and medical health checks, but still obtaining payment.

Cllr Felicity Baker, North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for licensing, said the prosecution sent a strong message to rogue taxi drivers.

“Operating without the correct licence is completely irresponsible and will not be tolerated. We will take action. Taxis are licenced in order to keep passengers safe by ensuring the drivers and their vehicles both undertake regular checks.

“Before you travel in any vehicle, please check they are displaying a licence number and if they fail to do so, report it to North Somerset Council.”

Michael Cook was sentenced on Friday 5 January.

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