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'Sex For Taxi Fares' Banned In Hartlepool
Taxi drivers in Hartlepool have been told not to accept sexual favours from customers who are unable to pay their fare.
After a driver lost his taxi licence for having sex in his car, cabbies say the warning from the council has lifted the lid on a problem they face on a regular basis.
"I've taxied for 40 years and there's always sexual favours on offer," Jim Carter, 68, told Sky News as he queued on the taxi rank outside the council offices.
"A woman said to me one night 'Do you think the two of us could fit in a single bed? I haven't got enough money.' I told her to get out of the car."
In a town long used to being the butt of jokes for hanging a shipwrecked monkey during the Napoleonic wars because they thought it was a French spy, female taxi passengers are unfazed.
Christine Short, 52, said she knows for a fact that taxi fares can be negotiated.
"I have known friends do it," she admitted.
"It's been ongoing for years, and if the drivers think they can get away with it, then so be it."
Hartlepool Council says it expects the highest possible standards from taxi drivers.
"We have written to all taxi drivers in the town to inform them that we will not tolerate such behaviour and any sexual contact with a passenger is likely to result in their licence being revoked," a spokesman said.
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