Taxi drivers have been told to "politely refuse" sexual favours in exchange for fares after a cabbie was caught having sex in the back of his car.

Hartlepool Council has written to all taxi firms in the town to refrain from taking up such trade-offs in the future if women cannot afford their fares after a night out.

The letter read: "I would ask you to ensure that any driver that works for you fully understands that any sexual contact with a passenger is unacceptable and is likely to result in the revocation of their licence.

"Any offers of sexual favours must be politely refused."

The red-faced driver in question has since had his licence revoked after his indiscretion outside the woman's home last December.

But it is understood it is not unusual for women to offer sex to drivers in the town when they run out of cash at the end of the evening.

One cab driver said: "It's not uncommon for some of the lasses to offer the drivers things other than a fare when they make their way home from a night out.

"We see some right states when the pubs are closing, and it's getting to the stage where we have to ask them if they have enough money to pay the fare before we set off to avoid any embarrassment later on.

"I've heard a few tales like this one, but never known anyone who has had their licence taken off them for it.

"Normally this type of request gets laughed off by the drivers, but obviously temptation got the better of one of the lads!"

The bizarre warning to taxi drivers was issued after the matter came to light at a recent public protection council meeting.

An investigation was carried out and the driver admitted his misdemeanour. His licence was removed in January.

A spokesman for Hartlepool Council said: "We can confirm that a taxi driver has had his licence revoked after admitting having sex in his vehicle.

"Hartlepool Council expects the highest possible standards from taxi drivers and they have a vital role in protecting the public whilst carrying out their work. We have written to all taxi drivers in the town to remind them that we will not tolerate such behaviour and any sexual contact with a passenger is likely to result in their licence being revoked."