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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Carlisle taxi driver stripped of licence after attacking car

A taxi driver who vandalised a car outside his home has been stripped of his licence just three days after it was issued.

A policeman said he was horrified to find that David John Hickie was being allowed to ferry people around Carlisle.

Hickie obtained his first hackney carriage driver’s licence from the city council on June 27, but three days later he accepted a police caution for criminal damage and possessing cannabis following an incident outside his Petteril Street home on June 30.

A police officer said he could not think of “a worse person” to entrust a taxi licence to.

Hickie, 51, who has lived at Petteril Street, off Warwick Road, for 28 years, told police he vandalised the car parked across the entrance to his garage because he “lost his temper” after being plagued for years by people regularly blocking the entrance.

He had been drinking before vandalising the car. As part of the caution he agreed to pay to repair the damage to the vehicle.

Hickie informed the city council of the caution on July 3 and members of its regulatory panel met on July 30, where they decided to revoke Mr Hickie’s licence.

Councillors heard from Mr Hickie as well as police and licensing officers before unanimously deciding he was not a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold such a licence.

PC Tim Prangnell, in a statement, said: “I must admit to being horrified to discover that Hickie is a taxi driver. I really cannot think of a worse person to be entrusted by the public to transport them safely.”

Accepting police evidence, the councillors ruled that: “The offences were committed very soon after being granted his hackney carriage driver’s licence and showed a disregard for that licence, and the behaviour which would be expected of a driver licensed by Carlisle City Council.”

They also say evidence suggests Mr Hickie was more than an occasional drug user. He had tested positive while at Network Rail previously.

“Possession of cannabis was not consistent with the fitness and propriety required to be a hackney carriage driver,” the panel states. Mr Hickie losing his temper and spray-painting a car were also “not consistent with being fit and proper” to hold such a licence, the panel concluded, adding that they considered that a “calm and event temper was an essential component” of being a taxi driver.

Licensing officers were also concerned and questioned whether Mr Hickie has a “dependency on alcohol”.

The panel was told that Mr Hickie had been the holder of a shotgun certificate until 2013, when his firearms were surrendered following an incident during which he was found drunk with the weapons lying about the house instead of being locked up.

The council has written to inform Mr Hickie of the decision. He has 21 days from receiving the letter to lodge an appeal against the council’s decision at the magistrates’ court in Rickergate.

Mr Hickie, who had no previous conviction when he received the police caution, has not been available for comment.

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