*Stock image used.

A private hire driver from East Grinstead has been ordered to pay over £1,000 after he refused to let a guide dog in his vehicle.

Muhammed Uddin, 38, of London Road, denied a visually impaired customer access to his vehicle last year because they had a guide dog with them.

Officers from Mid Sussex District Council investigated and decided to prosecute.

Mr Uddin pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (March, 21), and was fined £162, plus a victim surcharge of £30, and court costs of £876.

Councillor Norman Webster, the council’s cabinet member for community said:

“Mid Sussex District Council takes the Equality Act very seriously and I hope this prosecution sends a clear message to any rogue taxi drivers who think it’s acceptable to discriminate against disabled people.

“Assistance dogs play a vital role in helping visually impaired people and those with other disabilities to maintain their independence.

“They deserve to be treated properly – and that includes being able to travel with their owner in taxis.

“Quite simply, it is unlawful for a driver to refuse to pick up a properly booked person with an assistance dog.”

According to the Equality Act 2010, it is an offence for a driver to refuse or decline to take a customer who is accompanied by an assistance dog.