A DISPUTE with a taxi driver over £2 cost Nigel Christopher Grant £1,000 when he appeared before Blackburn magistrates.

The court heard that Grant had kicked the taxi as it drove off causing £950-worth of damage to the vehicle and how moments earlier he had been trying to diffuse the tension between his friend and the driver.

Grant, 34, of Colthurst Drive, Clitheroe, pleaded guilty to criminal damage. He was ordered to pay £950 compensation and £50 costs.

Basharat Ditta, defending, said that while there had been two men involved in the dispute with the taxi driver Grant, a team leader at Ultraframe, would offer to pay the compensation in full within 56 days.

"He is a responsible man and this kind of behaviour is totally out of character," said Mr Ditta. He said Grant and a friend had taken a taxi to a nightclub and the fare had been £8. They were refused entry and immediately rang another taxi to take them home. Grant was in the back of the car when the fare was discussed and the driver wanted £2 more than they had just paid.

"Initially it was a discussion but it soon became an argument," said Mr Ditta. "His friend eventually lashed out at the taxi driver and at that stage my client was saying to his friend to calm down it was only £2."

Mr Ditta said that as Grant was trying to get out of the car the driver set off and Grant fell to the floor banging his head.

"He reacted and kicked the back of the car as it drove off," said Mr Ditta. "He bitterly regrets what happened and wants to pay for the damage and apologise to the taxi driver. This is something that will not happen again."