Driver fined for smoking in taxi

Northampton Magistrates Court sign''Ref 070314P-A058
Northampton Magistrates Court sign''Ref 070314P-A058

A private hire taxi owner from Towcester has been fined £100 for smoking in her work vehicle.

On Friday, April 5, Valerie Dean of Deano’s Private Hire in Towcester pleaded guilty to smoking in her cab.

Mrs Dean did not attend the hearing at Northampton Magistrates’ Court and entered a plea by letter.

In her absence she was fined £100 and ordered to pay £150 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

It was second time that Mrs Dean has been found guilty of the offence, the first offence occurring in 2008.

Councillor Dermot Bambridge, South Northants Council’s member for the environment, said all taxis must remain smoke free to comply with the law, but more importantly for the protection of public health.

He added: “Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers who insist on smoking in their vehicles run the risk of both fines and possible revocation of their private hire licence if found guilty.”

Speaking to the Advertiser after the case Mrs Dean said she did not want to spend the time fighting the case, but said she did not smoke in her cab.

She said it was a Sunday, she was not working and lit a cigarette as she exited her car as she visited a supermarket after having recently learnt about the death of a friend.

Since July 2007 it has been illegal to smoke in a vehicle that is used as a place of work or that is used to transport members of the public. For more information on smoking laws visit www.southnorthants.gov.uk/2491.htm.