A PRIVATE hire operator and driver providing transport for schoolchildren have been fined for trading with an expired licence.

Members of the council's licensing team spotted the silver Mercedes with old plates outside The Holy Brook School, in Ashampstead Road, Southcote.

It was an expired Transport for London private hire vehicle and was reported to Reading Borough Council's legal department as part of a routine inspection.

Anthony Roe, of Lower Armour Road, Tilehurst, the operator of 1st Class Cars, was convicted in his absence of operating a private hire vehicle without a current licence, during a hearing on April 9.

The 51-year-old was fined £800 and ordered to pay legal costs of £1,500 and an £80 victim surcharge.

Clarence Harry, 63, of Halls Road, Tilehurst, the driver of the Mercedes Vito, appeared before magistrates on April 12.

He was convicted of driving/plying for hire without a licence, fined £120 and ordered to pay legal costs of £120 and a £30 victim surcharge.

The council’s licensing officers are regularly out and about in the borough carrying out checks on private hire vehicles, taxis and their drivers for the safety of all their customers.