Marquess is fined pounds 1,000 for dodging taxi fares

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THE Marquess of Blandford was fined pounds 1,000 yesterday for six offences of taking taxis without paying. The son of the Duke of Marlborough pleaded guilty to all charges.

The marquess, heir to Blenheim Palace, was also ordered by Horseferry Road magistrates in London to pay pounds 100 prosecution costs and pounds 179 compensation.

The charges, dated between 10 May and 1 June this year, involved taxi fares in London ranging between pounds 11.40 and pounds 66. After a journey, he would tell a taxi to wait while he went about his business but would fail to return, the court heard.

Roger Eastman, for the defence, said the marquess was being 'helped considerably at the moment' as a result of treatment he was undergoing - understood to be at a pounds 300-a-night clinic in Harrow, north London.

Mr Eastman said the marquess received income from a trust - 50 per cent of which went in maintenance to his former wife. After talking to the marquess Mr Eastman said pounds 100 disposable income was available and the magistrate fined him 10 units.