MORE than a third of taxis stopped by police in Hitchin and Letchworth last weekend had faults with their vehicles, with a total of 13 breaching their licensing conditions.

Police stopped 31 taxis last Friday in and around the town centres. They suspended two drivers’ licenses, warned four and advised the remaining five.

Problems identified during the stops included drivers not carrying fire extinguishers, defective tyres, defective brake lights and insufficient tyre tread.

Two other drivers who were licensed by other authorities were also stopped. One from Luton had a defective tyre and was given three penalty points on his licence and a �60 fine.

“These drivers make a living out of carrying members of the public in their vehicles,” said Police Sergeant Neil Emmerson.

“It’s crucial that these drivers regularly check their vehicles over and ensure they are compliant with their licensing conditions and that they are safe for the public to be carried in.”

Checks on taxi drivers in North Herts and surrounding areas will continue to be carried out in the future.

“We welcome these proactive checks by police as this helps to ensure that standards are maintained and residents are kept safe,” said Cllr Bernard Lovewell, NHDC portfolio holder for Housing and Environmental Health.