TAXI drivers are dodging Keighley and Bradford district’s strict safety checks by exploiting a legal loophole.

And the problem is “out of control”, according to the owner of one cab firm.

Some cabbies are deliberately getting their licences from other local authorities rather than from Bradford Council.

This means Bradford’s licensing enforcement officers, who often carry out spot safety checks on cabs in and around Keighley, have no jurisdiction over these drivers. It also means cabbies can get lower motor insurance premiums, compared to Bradford’s high prices, licensing bosses believe.

Other local authorities also have different standards for drivers’ criminal records, vehicle safety and other licensing criteria, such as whether cabbies have to sit knowledge tests.

Many drivers are getting their licenses from Rossendale Council in Lancashire, a rural area that has no upper limit on the number of hackney carriage licenses it will issue.

Stuart Hastings, boss of private hire firm Metro Keighley, said he refused to take on drivers who had Rossendale licenses. He estimated there were 30 to 40 in Keighley alone, adding: “It is out of control.”

The practice of obtaining taxi licenses from local authorities outside Bradford is entirely legal.

Hackney carriages licensed for one area can lawfully operate as private hire cars anywhere else in the country.

Keighley West councillor, Brian Morris, a former taxi driver, said he is worried the safety of the public is being put at risk.

He added: “If a Rossendale taxi driver, or any other out-of-town taxi driver, comes and works in Keighley, how does the public know the man sitting behind the wheel is the man who has actually got the licence? They don’t. Can Bradford’s hackney carriage enforcement officers ask them that question? No they can’t.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said it was taking the issue seriously. The authority is working with Rossendale Council so Bradford’s officers can be given delegated powers to enforce Rossendale’s rules on any of its drivers they stop.