Picking up a penalty

The two passengers were in fact plain clothes officers taking part in an operation to crackdown on taxi drivers who break the rules in the city.

Mushombe of Benhale Road, Manchester, picked up the two officers as he was parked on Bold Street last August. They asked to be taken to Bromborough and Mushombe agreed, breaking the rules of his licence,

The licensing laws mean that private hire drivers cannot pick people up off the street unlike black cabs. They can only carry passengers who have booked in advance.

Private hire drivers who pick people up on the street are effectively not insured for the journey.

Mushombe, who is licensed as a driver with St Helens Council, admitted the offence when he appeared before magistrates this week.

He was fined £160 and ordered to pay £90 costs. He was also given six penalty points on his licence.