TWO taxi drivers have faced magistrates for driving without their meters switched on.

Andrew Stephen Ormerod and Darren Shaun Lambert were handed conditional discharges at Darlington Magistrates Court.

In separate hearings, both admitted contravening bylaws relating to driving hackney carriages.

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On Saturday, June 7, both drivers were pulled over in Darlington during an enforcement exercise jointly run by Darlington Borough Council and Durham Police's traffic department.

In both cases, officers spotted that the taxis were travelling with their rooftop lights illuminated – meaning that the car’s meters were not engaged.

Ormerod, of Thornton Street, Darlington, told magistrates that he had simply forgotten to engage the meter.

The 45-year-old said: “I saw the policeman’s blue flashing light and looked down and realised what I had done.

“It’s not something I do every day but it happens, I’m human and I make mistakes.”

Lambert, of Wimborne Close, Darlington, said he had forgotten to engage his meter after picking up a lady in a distressed state and pleaded guilty to a separate offence of not wearing his driver’s badge.

Amy Wennington, prosecuting on behalf of Darlington Borough Council, said: “Drivers of hackney carriages are provided with a meter and as soon as the carriage is hired, must bring the machine into action.

“Residents and visitors to Darlington need to be reassured that when they use a hackney carriage that they are going to be charged the correct tariff.”