CRAFTY out of town taxi and private hire drivers have been flouting licensing laws to illegally pick up customers in the city.

The situation has become increasingly worse at hotspots including Castlemilk Shopping Centre that Glasgow cabbies are claiming they are being left out of pocket by rivals who come in from the surrounding area.

Both taxi and private hire vehicles in the city have visible licensing plates which reveal the local authority that vehicle is registered to.

Drivers registered to Glasgow, however, claim that they see cabs with plates from other local authorities illegally touting or plying for hire for business within the Glasgow City Council area. Those taxis appear to be working exclusively in the city because there is more business.

Out of town vehicles can break the licensing laws through two ways.

Touting is where a driver or someone acting on their behalf approaches the public and solicits their service.

Illegally plying for hire involves a driver being approached by the public and accepting a ‘there and then’ hire when they are not licensed to do so.

Taxis or private hire vehicles not registered to the city can only pick customers up if they have been booked in advance.

Many drivers have voiced their concerns over the issue, which appears to be city wide.

A spokesman for Glasgow Taxi Association said: “The Castlemilk situation is a snapshot of a wider issue where vehicles licensed in other council areas are working almost exclusively within the confines of the Glasgow City Council area.

“The losers in all of this illegal activity are the Glasgow licensed taxi and private hire drivers who watch perhaps thousands of jobs daily being carried out by vehicles that are not licensed to operate exclusively in Glasgow. “

The spokesman added: “There are also major safety concerns with vehicles operating exclusively outwith the licensed area.”