A TAXI driver was forced to take his vehicle off the road immediately because it was unfit to carry passengers.

It came as enforcement officers in the Ribble Valley teamed up with police and other agencies in a nightime swoop on unroadworthy taxis.

In total, 22 vehicles were inspected at ranks in Clitheroe.

Of those, 17, were found to be of the required standard, four were served with advisory notices requiring work to be carried out on their vehicles within seven days and one was served with a prohibition notice requir-ing him to withdraw the vehicle from operation immediately.

Carl Rung, the council’s taxi enforcement officer, said: “Maintaining a high standard of vehicles is something we take seriously and we carry out regular checks to ensure taxis and their drivers are meeting licensing requirements.

“This was a joint operation with the police, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and fuel inspectors from HM Revenue and Customs, where vehicles were subject to a rigorous inspection to ensure they were compliant with licence conditions.

“The council requires the immediate withdrawal of Hackney carriage or private hire vehicles constituting a risk to public safety, or work carried out to ensure the vehicles are of a high standard.

“Although one vehicle was found to be unroadworthy, we are delighted that most were of an excellent standard.”

The council is reminding residents not to use unlicensed taxis or flag down private hire vehicles. It has also issued tips to help taxi-users have a safe journey, including only flagging down ‘blue plate’ Hackney carriages, checking drivers are wearing ID badges and agreeing private hire fees in advance.

Anyone who suspects a taxi firm of operating without a licence or a driver should make a note of the vehicle’s licence number and contact the council on 01200 414411.