A South Staffordshire taxi driver has been banned from the roads for six months after being convicted of illegally plying for hire and driving without insurance in Wolverhampton.

Roy Clarke, aged 65, of Blackhalve Lane,Wednesfield, was caught taking an illegal fare in a joint operation between Wolverhampton City Council and West Midlands Police in May last year.

He is licensed by South Staffordshire District Council and had been the subject of previous complaints about his conduct when working in Wolverhampton.

A council officer posing as a member of the public flagged down Clarke’s taxi in Wolverhampton city centre and asked him to take them to a nearby hotel. Clarke quoted a price of £4 and accepted the fare, unaware that his passenger worked for the city council.

Taxis licensed outside of Wolverhampton are not allowed to accept passengers who flag them down in the city. Accepting a fare that has not been booked in advance, even for hackney carriages, is illegal if the driver is licensed out of town and invalidates the vehicle’s insurance – meaning passengers would not be covered for damages in the event of an accident.

The trial was heard before a district judge at Wolverhampton Magistrates last Friday. Clarke had pleaded not guilty at a previous hearing, but after considering the evidence the district judge said he was in no doubt Clarke was guilty.

He was ordered to pay total fines and costs of £775 and was given six penalty points for driving without insurance - which meant he was banned from driving for six months under the totting up procedure.

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council’s cabinet member for city services, said: “The court has sent a clear message that taxi drivers not licensed in Wolverhampton can’t come here and flout the regulations. Clarke put public safety at risk by driving without valid insurance. I’m glad that the city council, working with the police, were able to catch him red-handed following previous complaints.”

Wolverhampton City Council will make all of the information about Clarke available to colleagues at South Staffordshire District Council which issued him his taxi licence.