Uber driver snared in 'sting' by rival York taxi drivers

    York Magistrates Court.

A PRIVATE hire Uber driver was caught out illegally picking up a fare in a sting set up by two rival York taxi drivers, a court heard.

One driver posed as a customer to flag down the Leeds-based Uber cab - even though private hire cars can only take pre-booked fares.

A second York driver filmed the incident on his dashcam before providing evidence to City of York Council.

Now the Uber driver, Rehan Farooq, has a criminal record and may face losing his private hire licence as a result of what happened on August 20 in Rougier Street, the court heard.

Victoria Waudby, prosecuting at York Magistrates’ Court, said one of the taxi drivers flagged down Farooq and asked him to take him as a fare.

After the Uber driver accepted the first taxi driver as a passenger, the second taxi driver filmed part of the journey.

Both taxi drivers provided evidence to City of York Council, which investigated and prosecuted Farooq for working as a taxi driver when he only had a licence to take pre-booked fares.

Mrs Waudby said of Farooq: “At the end of the journey, he was aware he was being followed and feared what was going to happen, as he didn’t know who was following him.”

Farooq, 29, of Alder Hill Grove, Meanwood, Leeds, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to operating as a taxi driver without a hackney carriage licence in Rougier Street and driving without insurance.

He was fined £200 plus a £30 statutory surcharge plus £608.34 prosecution costs and six penalty points were put on his licence.

He told the magistrates: “The guy approached me. I thought I would take him. It was a stupid mistake. I am very sorry.”

Farooq said that he had insurance generally for his car. However, he accepted that because the insurance didn’t cover him working as a taxi driver, his insurance didn’t cover him for the journey he made after he picked up the first taxi driver.

Mrs Waudby said the council received a complaint that an Uber driver had picked up a fare in Rougier Street on August 20 in a Volkswagon Passat.

The car was registered to Farooq, who was licensed to operate as a private hire driver by Leeds City Council.

Uber records showed that there was no booking for Farooq to take a passenger at the time he was carrying the taxi driver.

When he was interviewed on November 28, Farooq told a council officer he was a full-time carer for his mother and worked as a private hire driver in the evening to make ends meet.

The council has contacted Leeds City Council but the West Yorkshire authority has yet to decide if it will take action regarding Farooq’s licence, the court heard.

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