A MAYOR has branded the results of random checks on taxis which found that 14 out of 18 Pendle cabs had faults as "appalling".

Coun Allan Buck, this year's Pendle mayor, who is also chairman of the borough's licensing committee, said improvements must be made after the spot checks in March.

Taxi licensing officials pulled over a number of cabs at random in Nelson on a single night in March and 14 taxis had their permits suspended.

Faults ranging from mechanical defects to failures to display taxi badges, expired road tax licences and having no fire extinguishers were identified.

The majority of the problems were repaired within 24 hours and the licence suspensions were lifted, so cabs were allowed back on the roads the following day.

The tests were conducted at one of the borough council's approved stations - the Norfolk Street garage in Nelson - after officials pulled over cabs on the street.

But vehicles from two firms - Cavalier Cars and Superline at Barrowford - failed to attend the garage and have been asked to attend Nelson Town Hall to expain their actions, a meeting of the council was told.

Coun Buck said that the results were "appalling" and called on the council's scrutiny committee to authorise more frequent checks on taxis in Pendle.

He said: "Unless we make a point about this poor quality then it may well continue.

"We have got to encourage the trade to always have taxis on the road in a safe condition.

"I thought that this report was shocking when I first read it and I still think it is shocking now."

Coun Dorothy Lord also called for taxi drivers to carry out a simple check list before setting out for work - especially on basic items such as badges, first aid kits and fire extinguishers.

Taxi drivers' association spokesman Mohammed Akram said that the trade agreed with the tests being conducted for safety reasons.

"We always have taxi safety as our first priority," he said.

But he argued against carrying out the spot checks on Friday and Saturday nights.

Mr Akram said: "We have got a good working relationship with licensing officers but we would ask them to visit taxis at their offices on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

"There are problems in this area with work. There is not enough and we are only really working on Friday and Saturday nights.

"We have got to take the work and I don't think it is fair that these tests are carried out on Fridays and Saturdays."

Taxi licensing manager Jackie Allen said the tests were carried out on Fridays and Saturdays because that was when the most cabs were actually operating.