A CAB driver is to seek thousands of pounds in damages from a council that suspended his licence for having the wrong colour taxi.

George Jenkinson defeated Darlington Borough Council in court last year after it ruled his taxi was not the right shade of red.

Now he plans to go to county court to seek damages of £10,000 from the authority.

"I put my house on the line and I put my business on the line," he said.

"The case should never have got to court. For nearly two years I went through the stress and strain of it all.

"I think they will be getting off lightly with £10,000, I really do. But we'll give the council a chance to make an offer and see what happens."

Mr Jenkinson's licence was suspended after he advertised on his Hackney carriage.

The authority had previously brought in regulations stating Hackney carriages had to be bright red and those not the correct shade could not carry advertising.

Last July, Bishop Auckland magistrates ruled that Mr Jenkinson was entitled to advertise on his vehicle and awarded costs of more than £9,000.

That money is to be paid out of the council's taxi budget, which Mr Jenkinson, of Minors Crescent, Darlington, believes is wrong.

"It's ridiculous. They are the ones who have made the mistake. The council should have had insurance.

"Instead, the money is coming out of the taxi drivers' funds, meaning drivers are being penalised for the council's mistakes.

"The case itself was a waste of taxpayers' money and now the trade is being hit. Our licence fees have just been increased and it's no wonder."

A council spokesman said it was normal practice to take the money from the taxi budget.

"Where else should it could from?" he asked. "There's a budget to run taxis which covers all expenditure. It won't have any effect on the taxi drivers or the amount they pay in fees."