TAXI drivers and operators are being urged to ensure “paperwork” is in place to meet licensing requirements.

It follows a Durham County Council prosecution of a private hire vehicle driver and his boss.

Driver Dean Smith, from Seaham, was using a private hire vehicle to pick up a pupil from a school in Murton.

Although he had a hackney carriage licence, he was not licensed or insured to drive a private hire car.

Checks showed the Seat Toledo he was driving was licensed to taxi operator Michael Crumbie, who later told licensing officers not all of his 15 employees held private hire licences.

Crumbie said he asked Smith to make the pick-up using one of his three private hire vehicles, but confirmed he has since taken steps to ensure the situation is not repeated, encouraging drivers to have licences for both hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.

Smith said he only drove that car, on his day off, at short notice at Crumbie’s request, as other vehicles were being valeted.

Seeing the inspector, he decided not to collect the child.

Crumbie, 47, of James Street, was fined £440 with £244 costs and victim surcharge. Smith, 51, of Windermere Road, was fined £87, with £130 overall costs.

The council said drivers must they have the right licences to comply with insurance requirements.