Taxi driver Dennis Street thought he was doing the right thing when he stopped his car in pouring rain to give two men a lift after they pleaded for him to take them to a party a mile up the road.

The 53-year old father of three took pity on the two dripping wet pedestrians - neither of whom were wearing overcoats - after one of them flagged down his private hire cab during a winter storm.

But after charging them £2.30 for the 60 second journey Mr Street was shocked when his passengers were revealed to be undercover police community support officers operating a sting against rogue cabbies in the area.

He was subsequently dragged before the courts for illegally picking up passengers without a prior booking and was later ordered to surrender his taxi operating licence by council officials who claimed he was ''not a fit and proper person.'' As result he was forced to sell up his firm which he operated for eight years whilst he appealed against the decision.

This week after a 13 month legal battle, Mr Street won back his licence after 180 customers across Oldham, Greater Manchester sent in character references describing him as as an ''icon'' in the town.

But Mr Street who was left £7,000 out of pocket due to fines, legal fees and a huge rise in his insurance premium said: '''I wouldn't have picked them up if one of them hadn't been standing in the middle of the road waving his arms around. I had to stop for him and it was entrapment, plain and simple. It makes me wonder, why are people being like that?

"I just did these guys a favour - it was a split-second decision and now I have been punished for being nice. I just said, 'get in, get out of the rain'.

''I understand that the PCSOs were doing what they were told to do by the licensing authority, but I think rather than carrying out undercover stings on taxi drivers, if they are fit and capable they should be policing and doing the work they were brought in for - policing villages and towns to keep law and order. ''

It is illegal for private hire drivers to accept passengers who have not pre-booked the taxi, because the driver is not insured. Only black hackney cabs are insured to pick up fares from the street – or "ply for hire."

Cavendish Press' coverage of Mr Street's court battle went in the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and various websites.

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