'Fake' taxi warning issued by police
The warning by police and Newcastle City Council comes after an increase in the number of people offering their services as taxi drivers on social media.
Taxi drivers are vetted and checked and either granted or refused a licence to ensure the are safe.
Officers are warning those using unlicensed taxis are potentially putting their safety at risk while those operating 'fake' taxis face action by police including being arrested and put before the courts.
Newcastle City Centre Inspector Nicola Wearing said: "A really important part of a night out is making sure that you can get home safely afterwards. The best way is either to prearrange a lift with a friend or family member, or to book a licensed taxi.
"We work really closely with the local council and the licensed taxi companies across the area to ensure there are lots of ways for people to get home after a night out.
"What we don't want is people getting into unlicensed taxis - by that I mean people who do taxi runs in their own cars, who are unlicensed and who could be anyone.
"If you get into one of these cars you could be putting your safety at risk as you may not know who is driving or if the vehicle is even safe.
"When you get a taxi you should always book it through a licensed reputable company, don't just get into cars that look like taxis or accept lifts from strangers in any circumstances.
"Licensed taxis must display taxi plates both in and outside of the vehicle and it's always worth while taking note, where possible, of the taxi license number or the driver's details. As a precaution we also recommend people arrange to go home in a group of friends and if possible use an authorised taxi rank."