A WOULD-BE cabbie joined a Christchurch taxi rank - despite failing "crucial" parts of the application process for the job.

Victor-Christenel Arghian, of Lechlade Gardens in Bournemouth, had started an application to work as a taxi driver in Christchurch, but failed elements of the process, including questions on safeguarding.

He was then told he had not been successful in his application.

However, three days later on Saturday, April 7, the 46-year-old was seen by a council licensing officer sitting in a marked taxi parked in the Wick Lane rank at 11.20pm.

Arghian was issued with a summons to attend Poole Magistrates' Court on Monday. He failed to attend and was convicted in hid absence of being the driver of a hackney carriage without the appropriate licence.

Magistrates heard Arghian had admitted he was driving the taxi when he was interviewed in connection with the offence.

He was fined £440 and ordered to pay a £44 victim surcharge and £205.46 costs.

Sean Whitney, Christchurch council's public health and protection manager, said: “The council takes its licensing duties very seriously and this was a clear disregard for the rules.

"Mr Arghian had failed crucial parts of the test to get his license.

"The council was left with no choice but to prosecute this matter when having concern to public safety.”

The Daily Echo has previously reported on concerns that members of the public are putting themselves at risk by using illegal taxi services.

Offering lifts is not a crime in itself, but becomes so when the driver asks for a fee above petrol costs.

A spokesperson for Bournemouth and Poole councils said: "Anyone acting as a taxi operator or driving a taxi without a licence is in breach of the law and could face prosecution, with fines of up to £2,500.

"In the interests of safety and security, we would advise people not to use unlicensed taxis.”

Police advise the public to take a bus or licensed taxi.