Aldin Stefanov was caught illegally plying for hire when he picked up a Reading Borough Council licensing officer on Sunday, August 27
An Uber driver has been hit with a £680 fine after he was caught illegally plying for hire in Reading.
Aldin Stefanov, of Kintbury Walk, Reading, was picking up passengers in the town during Reading Festival in August 2016.
The Transport for London Uber driver was caught on Sunday, August 27 when he unwittingly picked up a Reading Borough Council licensing officer.
The 46-year-old admitted the charge at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday, February 3 and was fined £250.
He was also ordered to pay legal costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £30.
Uber drivers are not allowed to ply for hire in Reading as the company's application for an operating licence was rejected in March 2016.
People in Reading have opened the Uber app ito search for and book cabs for local journeys since the company's application was snubbed and many of the company's minicabs are seen driving around the town looking for work outside their licensed area.
Councillor Paul Gittings, lead member for consumer services, said: "This is a positive outcome which upholds regulations that are in place to protect the public.
"I hope cases such as this will serve as a deterrent to drivers who are tempted to work illegally in Reading.
"Reading’s licensing committee took the decision to reject Uber’s application for a private hire operating licence in March 2016.
"It is unfortunate that some drivers continue to flout this decision.
Hopefully this prosecution sends out the message that Reading will not tolerate illegal taxi activity."
Uber says the driver's account will be deacctivated.
Will they now be geofencing the borough to stop these illegal journeys, unlikely as they haven't down this in other areas where they are not licensed to work.
The company said "we will deactivate the account of any driver found plying for hire.
This is now a nationwide problem that is steadily growing out of hand.
The DoT needs to step in and help protect the livelihood of authorised licensed Taxi and Private Hire drivers.
TfL have shown no appetite to help other councils and have said on many occasions this issue is nothing to do with them unless a contravention happens within their licensing area.
Many trade associations up and down the country believe that TfL's attitude is a major factor in the escalation of this problem.