Taxi driver pays smoking fine

A Preston taxi driver has been hit with a court fine after being caught smoking in his vehicle.

Council officers observed the driver smoking in his vehicle
Council officers observed the driver smoking in his vehicle

Ghafoor Akthar fell foul of smokefree workplace laws and has been ordered to pay £280 after entering a guilty plea at Preston Magistrates' Court.

In 2011 Mr Akthar had been caught smoking whilst driving another taxi and had paid a fixed penalty of £50 after which he was sent a warning, stating that if he was caught again he was likely to be prosecuted, Preston City Council said.

Magistrates heard the 60-year-old, of Cliffe Court, was observed by council officers smoking a cigarette whilst driving his hackney carriage vehicle on North Road.

Officers spoke to Mr Akthar on Guild Row outside of Ace Ringway’s taxi office.

He pleaded guilty to smoking in a smokefree place and was fined £50, ordered to pay the Councils costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £30.

Coun Peter Moss, cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “The law on not smoking in workplaces and vehicles applies equally to taxi drivers who carry members of the public. They have a greater responsibility in that they need to protect the public health of their passengers.

“The drivers and their passengers must also comply with smoke-free laws. Where they don’t, we will look to take action and prosecute offenders to safeguard people’s health.”