Darlington toilet break taxi driver's anger over £25 fine

The Northern Echo: Taxi driver Michael Brown Taxi driver Michael Brown

A TAXI driver who left his vehicle unattended while on a toilet break has criticised council officials for prosecuting him after he was fined £25 by magistrates.

Mark Michael Brown said the level of fine was disproportionate to the stress he had been put under by Darlington Borough Council, which could still suspend or remove his licence.

Mr Brown, 37, was reported by traffic wardens after they saw his empty cab on the East Row rank, in Darlington, while he used the toilet in a nearby betting shop, on January 14.

Appearing before Darlington magistrates yesterday, he admitted leaving a licensed hackney cab unattended on a rank, but said he had no choice because of a stomach condition which can cause him to need a toilet at short notice.

The court heard Mr Brown’s taxi was seen unattended for 11 minutes on the rank by a traffic warden, who later saw the cab driver leave the William Hill betting shop.

Amy Wennington, prosecuting on behalf of the borough council, said: “In an interview with licensing officers, Mr Brown said that he had entered the betting shop, but had done so to use the toilet.

“On that occasion I was desperate for the toilet. I do admit that I left it on the rank but when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.”

Mark Brown

“He admitted that he knew leaving his taxi unattended was an offence. He has previously received two warnings for leaving his vehicle unattended.”

Giving evidence, Mr Brown told magistrates that he suffered from irritable bowel syndrome and produced letters from his doctor and two members of staff from the betting shop to back up his claims.

He said: “On that occasion I was desperate for the toilet. I do admit that I left it on the rank but when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.”

Speaking after he was fined £25, with a £15 victim surcharge, Mr Brown said: “I’ve had months of stress for a £25 charge. I will now have to go before a committee who could decide to take my licence from me.

“It’s not just me that’s affected by this, all the drivers struggle to go to the toilet or get something to eat because of these rules.”

A Darlington Borough Council spokeswoman said: “Prosecution is often the last resort after following a process of talking to people and issuing a series of written warnings.

“By leaving vehicles unattended on a taxi rank, taxi drivers are hindering other drivers as they cannot access the rank. An efficient working rank benefits taxi drivers and the public alike and we take any breaches of legislation seriously.”

The court decided not to award any costs against Mr Brown.

Comments (17)

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9:05am Thu 10 May 12

Ian James says...

That was an expensive pit stop, to go n have a big uncle george! lol. He wont forget that bog break in a hurry and its a shame it cost him 25 ridge coz he could have had a bet when he was in the bookies with that coin n put 25 quid on the lottery instead n lived hackney ever after if he won!! lol.
That was an expensive pit stop, to go n have a big uncle george! lol. He wont forget that bog break in a hurry and its a shame it cost him 25 ridge coz he could have had a bet when he was in the bookies with that coin n put 25 quid on the lottery instead n lived hackney ever after if he won!! lol. Ian James
  • Score: 0

10:22am Thu 10 May 12

tonyboynton says...

How many times do we say this....Council get a GRIP and sort the important S*!t out. Excuse the pun.

And this man may lose his job over it, what about his familly it's an absolute JOKE.

This country boils my pish !
How many times do we say this....Council get a GRIP and sort the important S*!t out. Excuse the pun. And this man may lose his job over it, what about his familly it's an absolute JOKE. This country boils my pish ! tonyboynton
  • Score: 0

10:43am Thu 10 May 12

clixon2010 says...

Absolute disgusting!!!! all this cos the poor guy has IBS! My wife suffered from it for years and sometimes rocks in pain because of it. I know the family and I have a lot of respect for him, providing for his family! where are the taxi drivers supposed to go now that the public bogs are shut down? why not let the taxi drivers use them loos by key access if they need to go, they shouldn't have to go into a betting office to use their loos. after all, they are providing a service to the town and trying to make a living for the sake of their families too! SHAME ON YOU DARLINGTON BOROUGH COUNCIL!!!!!
Absolute disgusting!!!! all this cos the poor guy has IBS! My wife suffered from it for years and sometimes rocks in pain because of it. I know the family and I have a lot of respect for him, providing for his family! where are the taxi drivers supposed to go now that the public bogs are shut down? why not let the taxi drivers use them loos by key access if they need to go, they shouldn't have to go into a betting office to use their loos. after all, they are providing a service to the town and trying to make a living for the sake of their families too! SHAME ON YOU DARLINGTON BOROUGH COUNCIL!!!!! clixon2010
  • Score: 0

11:05am Thu 10 May 12

madsmadsissy says...

How many "man hours" have the council wasted on this prosecution with interviews and paperwork etc. Yet again Darlington Council have shown themselves to be an utter shambles and an absolute laughing stock. Is there really nothing more important happening in this town???
How many "man hours" have the council wasted on this prosecution with interviews and paperwork etc. Yet again Darlington Council have shown themselves to be an utter shambles and an absolute laughing stock. Is there really nothing more important happening in this town??? madsmadsissy
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Thu 10 May 12

GeordieB says...

What on earth is going on at Darlington Borough Council?

Here's a thought, stop the vexatious court cases and say, secure the future of the Arts Centre.

The Council is supposed to serve the public. In what way did this court case benefit the public?
What on earth is going on at Darlington Borough Council? Here's a thought, stop the vexatious court cases and say, secure the future of the Arts Centre. The Council is supposed to serve the public. In what way did this court case benefit the public? GeordieB
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Thu 10 May 12

yada yada yada says...

Kinda missing the point here aint we, everyone's quick to scorn but qoute "Prosecution is often the last resort after following a process of talking to people and issuing a series of written warnings" I bet every stage of the process was met with a blank response from Mr Cabbie, If he had discussed this initially he could have avoided court I'm sure.
Plus 11 minutes is just the right time to bang a bet on and watch it on the screen, wonder if William Hill had that on CCTV.
He'll make £25 on his next unsuspecting Friday night punter
Kinda missing the point here aint we, everyone's quick to scorn but qoute "Prosecution is often the last resort after following a process of talking to people and issuing a series of written warnings" I bet every stage of the process was met with a blank response from Mr Cabbie, If he had discussed this initially he could have avoided court I'm sure. Plus 11 minutes is just the right time to bang a bet on and watch it on the screen, wonder if William Hill had that on CCTV. He'll make £25 on his next unsuspecting Friday night punter yada yada yada
  • Score: 0

7:56pm Thu 10 May 12

NO EINSTEIN says...

This poor chap has a medical condition that he has proved in court, and because he does not go on the sick and works, this is what he gets.
My goodness there are shoplifters getting off with a warning, and thieves getting conditional discharges, but a working man with a medical condition gets fined, shame on you magistrates shame on you.
As for Darlington council, how much tax payers money did this prosecution cost, was this really in the public interest to take to court.
This poor chap has a medical condition that he has proved in court, and because he does not go on the sick and works, this is what he gets. My goodness there are shoplifters getting off with a warning, and thieves getting conditional discharges, but a working man with a medical condition gets fined, shame on you magistrates shame on you. As for Darlington council, how much tax payers money did this prosecution cost, was this really in the public interest to take to court. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 0

8:26pm Thu 10 May 12

rank marshall says...

Mr Brown is a hard working man who works seven days a week he never gambles at all never never leaves a vehicle unatended and is suffering from I.B.S WHO IS THAT IN PICTURE BECAUSE IT AINT HIM LOL
Mr Brown is a hard working man who works seven days a week he never gambles at all never never leaves a vehicle unatended and is suffering from I.B.S WHO IS THAT IN PICTURE BECAUSE IT AINT HIM LOL rank marshall
  • Score: 0

9:55pm Thu 10 May 12

Jolly Roger says...

Well if he has IBS he can get a Radar key to use disabled toilets.

But he was parking in a Taxi rank, which he should know what the rules are, so should have parked elsewhere to go to the toilet.
So in my opinion he was at fault by parking in the rank and leaving his taxi, not Darlington Council for the traffic wardens doing what we the tax pauyers pay them to do - that is they job. If the general public get done so should the Taxi drivers who also break the rules.
Well if he has IBS he can get a Radar key to use disabled toilets. But he was parking in a Taxi rank, which he should know what the rules are, so should have parked elsewhere to go to the toilet. So in my opinion he was at fault by parking in the rank and leaving his taxi, not Darlington Council for the traffic wardens doing what we the tax pauyers pay them to do - that is they job. If the general public get done so should the Taxi drivers who also break the rules. Jolly Roger
  • Score: 0

11:06pm Thu 10 May 12

NO EINSTEIN says...

Well if he has IBS he can get a Radar key to use disabled toilets.

But he was parking in a Taxi rank, which he should know what the rules are, so should have parked elsewhere to go to the toilet.
So in my opinion he was at fault by parking in the rank and leaving his taxi, not Darlington Council for the traffic wardens doing what we the tax pauyers pay them to do - that is they job. If the general public get done so should the Taxi drivers who also break the rules

You Heartless pig, and learn to spell.
Well if he has IBS he can get a Radar key to use disabled toilets. But he was parking in a Taxi rank, which he should know what the rules are, so should have parked elsewhere to go to the toilet. So in my opinion he was at fault by parking in the rank and leaving his taxi, not Darlington Council for the traffic wardens doing what we the tax pauyers pay them to do - that is they job. If the general public get done so should the Taxi drivers who also break the rules You Heartless pig, and learn to spell. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 0

6:15am Fri 11 May 12

rank marshall says...

The poor guy has now got I B S "inoperative betting syndrome " we should pity him a support group is being set up at www. Iamfullofshit.co.uk/
couldntworkinanironl
ung Please log in and support this sad victim of this new illness
The poor guy has now got I B S "inoperative betting syndrome " we should pity him a support group is being set up at www. Iamfullofshit.co.uk/ couldntworkinanironl ung Please log in and support this sad victim of this new illness rank marshall
  • Score: 0

6:24am Fri 11 May 12

rank marshall says...

The poor guy has now got I B S "inoperative betting syndrome " we should pity him a support group is being set up at www. Iamfullofshit.co.uk/
couldntworkinanironl
ung Please log in and support this sad victim of this new illness
The poor guy has now got I B S "inoperative betting syndrome " we should pity him a support group is being set up at www. Iamfullofshit.co.uk/ couldntworkinanironl ung Please log in and support this sad victim of this new illness rank marshall
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Fri 11 May 12

Jolly Roger says...

I am not heartless - if the traffic wardens book any other person parking where they should not - why not taxi drivers who are breaking the rules - it is NOT one law for them and NOT us.

I know more about running to the loo as my wife has Cohens and we know where all the public toilets are in the region - but will not break the law for her to go like this man did, no ifs or buts.
I am not heartless - if the traffic wardens book any other person parking where they should not - why not taxi drivers who are breaking the rules - it is NOT one law for them and NOT us. I know more about running to the loo as my wife has Cohens and we know where all the public toilets are in the region - but will not break the law for her to go like this man did, no ifs or buts. Jolly Roger
  • Score: 0

6:35pm Fri 11 May 12

rank marshall says...

the shame of being in the paper is enough of a punishment the camera not flattering he looks like "fat borrat " very proud his partner must be with that tash i say partner cos he got to be a batty boy ! on a serious note he can get done for being in possesion of an offensive tash !
the shame of being in the paper is enough of a punishment the camera not flattering he looks like "fat borrat " very proud his partner must be with that tash i say partner cos he got to be a batty boy ! on a serious note he can get done for being in possesion of an offensive tash ! rank marshall
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Fri 11 May 12

rank marshall says...

rank marshall wrote:
the shame of being in the paper is enough of a punishment the camera not flattering he looks like "fat borrat " very proud his partner must be with that tash i say partner cos he got to be a batty boy ! on a serious note he can get done for being in possesion of an offensive tash !
now seriously guys he deserves a living
the council waisted our money going to court
he didnt kill steal or assault anyone leave him to get on with his job which is hard at best of times
he made an error but in the scheme of things jesus its not a criminal offence not really just let it be tell him off and lets worry about real stuff in dton like price of eggs and how long is a piece of string good luck "borrat"
[quote][p][bold]rank marshall[/bold] wrote: the shame of being in the paper is enough of a punishment the camera not flattering he looks like "fat borrat " very proud his partner must be with that tash i say partner cos he got to be a batty boy ! on a serious note he can get done for being in possesion of an offensive tash ![/p][/quote]now seriously guys he deserves a living the council waisted our money going to court he didnt kill steal or assault anyone leave him to get on with his job which is hard at best of times he made an error but in the scheme of things jesus its not a criminal offence not really just let it be tell him off and lets worry about real stuff in dton like price of eggs and how long is a piece of string good luck "borrat" rank marshall
  • Score: 0

11:26pm Sat 12 May 12

maclaren says...

Taxi drivers are a law to them selves he was obviously putting a bet on so deserves all he gets hope he loses his licence cos then justice will be done
Taxi drivers are a law to them selves he was obviously putting a bet on so deserves all he gets hope he loses his licence cos then justice will be done maclaren
  • Score: 0

11:31pm Sat 12 May 12

maclaren says...

Lock the scum bag up
Lock the scum bag up maclaren
  • Score: 0

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