A Dudley-based limo hire company have been fined £1000 for operating their business without licences or a valid insurance. Splash Limousines were caught in a council sting operation and found to be breaching laws by not possessing a private hire licence.

The owners of the company, Lee Jeavons and Rachel Marson, denied charges stating they were informed by council authorities that they did not need to licence their limousines.  They also said they were under the impression that they were protected by their insurance policy.

The company, that provided limo hire service for school proms, came under fire when a parent looking to book a vehicle for his daughter’s school prom enquired if the firm was licensed. At Dudley Magistrates Court, it was disclosed that council officers conducted a sting operation which revealed that the company did not hold a private hire licence. This not only made Splash Limousines’ private hire operations illegal but also nullified their existing insurance.

According to the prosecution, the insurance that the firm held offered cover for private hire cars only, and the lack of a licence invalidated the policy.

Splash Limousines defence, Mr Shabir Qureshi, said: “Five years ago there was a lot of talk among other limo companies that a private hire licence may be required, but Miss Marson was given the clear impression that there was no need for this in Dudley.”

Enforcement officer Trevor Parkes said that the council had started licensing limousines three years ago due to a change in the law. He further stated that Splash Limousines should have been aware of this change and should have applied for a new licence.

Mr Jeavons and Ms Marson, who also drove the limousines, said that they could end up going out of business as a result of the court hearing.