MORE than three-quarters of taxis checked in Liskeard were deemed unfit to be on the road, a police operation has revealed.
Liskeard police and Cornwall Council's licensing department ran an inspection operation to check the roadworthiness of 18 taxis – and 78 per cent of them failed the test, with only 4 being passed as safe.
Police said the faults could have put passengers at risk.
Liskeard police neighbourhood team leader Sergeant Jo Williams said: "We're disappointed so many of the taxis being used by fare-paying passengers in the town had defects and faults. We all assume the taxi we're using is safe but this operation shows that some of these cars are not being properly looked after, putting passengers and other road users at risk.
"We'll be carrying out similar frequent operations in the future and sincerely hope to get fewer failures next time."
She said the operation was designed to protect public safety as a previous swoop found some vehicles had serious faults, which caused a risk to passengers.
They checked the taxis and three were immediately taken off the road by the police for having worn tyres or tyres with nails in them, ineffective handbrakes, cracked windscreens or no MoT, insurance or tax. Five taxis were issued with defect notices and six drivers were given verbal advice.
Council officials removed the numbered taxi licence plate from some vehicles, ensuring they could not be used as taxis until they were safe again.
Caradon Cabs, based in Darite, has 13 taxis in operation and, of the 3 inspected, 1 was found to be unsafe because it had a faulty handbrake and track rod end.
Simon O'Shea, director of Caradon Cabs, said: "We can only do our best. It's the driver's responsibility, at the end of the day, to maintain their taxi.
"It's hard enough earning a living without that inconvenience."
The repairs had been done immediately and now it was back on the road, he said, but the mechanics found more faults, including a faulty tyre and horn.
Mr O'Shea said his taxis were serviced every 10,000 miles, and as well as the annual MoT each received a six-monthly check.
Town Cabs in Liskeard had two taxis inspected and one required a new tyre.
Quick Kabs in Liskeard has ten taxis altogether and five were inspected. One was found to have a faulty headlight.