A man caught acting illegally as a private hire driver has been given a warning.

An investigation led by Three Rivers District Council found the driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, advertising a taxi service on Facebook and had purchased a vehicle in the hope that he could offer a service for wheelchair users.

But the council says he was caught with no private hire licence following a test purchase, which was conducted by the lead licensing officer and police on Monday, June 3.

The man accepted a booking to collect the undercover licensing officer from a hotel to go to Heathrow Airport.

When he arrived at the agreed location, the man confirmed he was there for the booking at which point the licensing officer revealed her true identity.

A police officer was also at the scene and discovered the vehicle was not insured for hire and reward purposes.

The vehicle was seized which resulted in the man receiving a fixed penalty notice for no insurance.

On Thursday, October 10, the man was warned not to act as a private hire driver in the area again.

Cllr Martin Trevett, chairman of the licensing committee, said: “We take a very serious view on unlicensed drivers, vehicles and operators here.

“We will take whatever course of action is necessary to ensure the general public is safe to travel within our district in a licensed vehicle.”

Three Rivers District Council found the man had contacted the council’s licensing department three times prior to the incident and was told the requirements for applying to be a licensed driver in the area, with there being strict protocols for people wanting to obtain a private hire licence.

The licence ensures cab drivers and vehicles are fit and proper, and safe and suitable for the public use.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced issues with drivers, vehicles or operators within the district is asked to report them to the council's licensing team by phoning 01923 776611 or emailing licensing.team@threerivers.gov.uk.