Knife conviction is a concern for cabbies

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A Melton taxi driver has questioned the borough council’s decision to grant a licence to someone who was convicted of a knife crime.

The driver, who declined to be named, said he was concerned about passenger safety and the reputation of cabbies in the town as a result of the ruling.

He said: “I and a lot of drivers are amazed that the council has given a licence to someone who less than two years ago was convicted of a knife crime.

“It could give people the impression that the council will give a taxi licence to just about anyone.”

Jim Worley, Melton Council’s head of regulatory services, said: “This driver’s involvement in the incident was considered by the Licensing Authority in February 2015 when he was penalised by means of a suspension to his licence for a period.

“There had not been any change in the circumstances in December 2016 when he applied for a new licence.

“The Authority had already penalised the driver and did not consider that a further penalty, in the form of a refusal to renew his licence, could be justified.”

l Clarifications are being sought on whether taxi drivers are allowed to drive through a pedestrianised area of Melton and pick up passengers there.

The issue was highlighted by driver Miguel Adesso, who said he was given a £50 penalty ticket by police officers after driving through Nottingham Street and Market Place.

He is unhappy because he said many of his colleagues also used that route and they thought cabbies were allowed to go there.

Mr Adesso said: “I went through there to drop someone off and I was amazed when I got this ticket.

“The police are saying we are not supposed to driving through there because it is a pedestrianised area.

“But many of us have been going through there for years and not had any tickets before.”

A spokesperson for Melton Council said the authority was aware of the issue of taxis driving through the pedestrian area but they were not directly involved in it.

He added: “We understand the driver was penalised by police for a traffic violation for driving in a pedestrianised area, in Nottingham Street.

“He was not subject to penalty or any other form of disciplinary action under the Taxi Licensing powers that Melton Council is responsible for.

“We have sought clarification from the highways authority regarding the restrictions on Nottingham Street.

“It is a pedestrianised area with a loading restriction clearly signed at the entrance stating ‘Except for loading between 4pm and 10am’ and we are advised that taxis are not exempt from this restriction.”