NEARLY half of all taxis were hauled off the roads during random spot-checks by licensing bosses in Rossendale.

Fourteen hackney carriage vehicles were stopped during an inspection by officials in the valley last Friday night.

And four were immediately taken off the road after being examined by an inspector from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

Major problems such as defective tyres and faulty steering systems were just two of the reasons behind the suspensions.

Another driver was spoken to on suspicion of driving a hackney carriage while unlicensed.Council licensing officers, VOSA and Lancashire Police were behind the crackdown.

Coun Christine Gill, the borough’s licensing committee chairman, said: “Taxi drivers are professional drivers and as such they should be carrying out basic checks before, during and at the end of each shift to ensure passenger safety.”

Insp John Fryer, of Rossendale Police, said: “Public safety could be compromised by a lack of routine vehicle maintenance and we will continue to work in partnership with the council to ensure defective vehicles are removed from the roads.”