A TAXI driver who told a student to walk rather than taking her fare has been fined.

Ashfaq Ahmed was waiting at a taxi rank outside the Prince Bishops shopping centre in Durham in October last year when the woman approached his Seat car.

Ahmed initially told her he was available for hire and when she asked to be taken to the Chapel Heights university accommodation, off the A690, he told her: “It’s up the street, just walk.”

The woman subsequently used the next vehicle on the rank.

During an interview with licensing officers from Durham County Council, Ahmed said that he had not refused the fare but had told the woman that the journey was only two minutes’ walk.

In mitigation, Ahmed claimed he hadn’t known where Chapel Heights was but when the passenger had told him it was at the top of Claypath, he had told her it was just up the street.

He also claimed that Claypath was closed at the time and so he would have had to take a longer route which would have meant a higher fare.

Magistrates at Newton Aycliffe ordered Ahmed, 59, of Windsor Road, Oxbridge, Stockton-on-Tees, to pay a £50 fine, £292.12 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.