Cabbie used phone to watch Euro 2012 match as he drove undercover council officers in Loughborough
A taxi driver tuned in to watch a football match on his mobile phone – while driving stunned undercover council officers.
The officials were running a routine licensing operation to ensure cabbies were not overcharging customers, failing to switch on their meters or breaking other regulations, when they hailed the cab at Loughborough railway station.
They asked the driver to take them to a nearby hotel, but were aghast when he put his phone on the car dashboard and started to stream the Euro 2012 quarter-final between Spain and France as he drove.
Charnwood Borough Council yesterday revealed details of the operation, which took place on June 23, after punishing the driver, who has not been named.
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Councillor Jane Hunt, cabinet spokesman, said: "Our officers were stunned when this taxi driver decided watching the big match was more important than the safety of his passengers."
The officials were briefed not to reveal themselves to drivers at the time, but noted his badge number and the fact he had overcharged them by 40p.
The driver later admitted two offences of "misconduct regarding the charging of fares" and for failing to "take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of passengers".
He has been punished with nine penalty points on his taxi operator licence. If he exceeds 12 in a year, a hearing can be held to determine whether to strip him of his licence.
Noel Bertram, a former chairman of Loughborough Taxi Association, said: "I think he should have had his badge taken off him for that. How can you drive safely while you're watching a football match?
"It shows a total disregard for the safety of his passengers and he should have been handed over to the police ."
A borough council spokesman said the authority decided to take the disciplinary action itself, treating it as a licensing matter.
He said the nine point penalty was a "hefty" punishment.
Loughborough cabbie Bokul Miah, 39, said the driver had been stupid, but that it would not be right to take his licence.
"When that goes it is your livelihood and your home and everything is at risk," he said. "He was very stupid but he has been punished."
The operation took place in the period before the Olympics, when increased numbers of visitors were expected because of the university's role in the build-up to the Games.