A TAXI driver has been fined after he was caught smoking in his cab.

Kevin Mercer was caught having a cigarette in a Steve's Taxis vehicle by a Huntingdonshire District Council officer on June 28 last year.

He was sent a fixed penalty notice and a reminder when he failed to pay the fine.

As a result the case was taken to Huntingdon Magistrates' Court, on February 26, which heard how Mercer, of Mere Way, Wyton, had been warned after he was seen smoking in his taxi on two previous occasions - once earlier in 2012 and once in 2010.

Mercer did not contact the court and did not attend on the day. The case was proven in his absence and he was fined £100, as well as ordered to pay costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Councillor Tom Sanderson, executive councillor for healthy and active communities, said: "By smoking in his taxi, Mercer chose not only to break the law but denied his customers their rights to travel in a smoke-free vehicle.

"The council is committed to protecting the health of the community and flagrant breaches of public health legislation will not be tolerated."

Self-employed cabbie Simon Meeke, of Bliss Close, Huntingdon, who works for Steve's Taxis, was the first person to be prosecuted in the district for smoking in a taxi.

As well as pleading guilty to smoking in a smoke-free vehicle, Meeke pleaded guilty to obstruction for failing to provide his name and address. He was fined a total of £1,524.62.