Police in the North East will be conducting a joint operation with Aberdeenshire Council over the next few weekends, targeting unlicensed taxi drivers.
Divisional Licensing officers have been made aware of young drivers in the Fraserburgh area advertising lifts on social media, in exchange for money.
Police will be coordinating with the Licensing department at Aberdeenshire Council and engaging with legitimate taxi drivers in Fraserburgh, while conducting patrols in the area.
Those individuals found to be operating as a taxi without a licence could receive a fine of up to £2,500.
The penalties for driving without insurance potentially range from points on your licence and a fine, to being disqualified from driving and having your vehicle seized by Police.
Sergeant Tricia MacLean, from the North East Divisional Licensing Unit, said: “The legitimate taxi trade go through rigorous checks to ensure that their vehicles are safe and suitable to transport members of the public, while unlicensed drivers have not undergone these checks.
“While offers from such drivers might be appealing from a financial point of view, you may be compromising your safety and putting yourself at significant risk.
“Remember that legitimate taxi drivers are expected to clearly display their taxi or private hire licence plates and carry photo identification to prove their status. If either of these items are not visible, I’d strongly advise you not to enter the vehicle.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “The safety of residents and visitors within our communities is paramount and this joint operation between our civic licensing standards officers and Police Scotland will help tackle any unlicensed taxi activity in Fraserburgh.
“We would encourage any member of the public who believes someone is operating a taxi without a licence to contact Police Scotland as to operate or drive a taxi without a licence is a criminal offence.”