HYNDBURN Council has pledged to keep up the pressure on taxi drivers to make vehicles are safe for passengers.

Results of a series of checks announced this week revealed that police pulled two thirds of the vehicles they checked off the road immediately.

Of the 12 private hire and Hackney carriage vehicles examined as part of Operation Safe Passenger -- a joint venture between Hyndburn Council and the police -- eight were found to be unroadworthy.

One cab -- licensed by Burnley Council -- was in such a poor state of repair that it had to be towed to a garage for repair after the spot checks.

Coun Tim O'Kane, portfolio holder for taxi licensing, said the council would like to increase the frequency of such checks though it was dependent on police resources.

"We are doing as much as we should be about the safety of taxis," he said.

"If you order a taxi you should be entitled to get into a safe vehicle. We would like there to be more of these checks but it's freeing up four police officers.

"The council would be prepared to do it. They would like to do much more of it at random times.

"But the taxi drivers seem to want to know when they are going to be done, which totally defeats the object. these should be done on a regular basis in the interests of the public.

"The figures back up the general trend in East Lancashire. When they did a similar thing in Blackburn they found much the same result. It's not good enough."

Mohammed Arif, chairman of the Hyndburn Taxi Cab Association, said: "We are not happy. We go for MoTs twice a year anyway, and we have an age limit on the cars -- they have to be less than seven years old. If we are going to come up against these sorts of checks it's going to affect drivers' livelihoods, especially if they do it at busy times. Rather than target us they should consider that we are often the victims of physical and verbal abuse particularly at this time of year. As far as we are concerned it's just a PR exercise."

Sergeant Keith Jackson, of Accrington Road Safety Unit, said: "Taxi drivers operate mainly at night so we have to target them at night.

"The main time for work for the majority of taxis is the weekend so that's why we do it when we do.

"It's important the public are carried safety in taxis so we have to examine them thoroughly.

"This is difficult to do at the roadside so we take them to the MoT station."