A taxi driver who overcharged an elderly shopper after taking her the long way home has lost his appeal against a decision to revoke his licence.

June Haley, who is in her 70s and walks with the aid of a stick, had to use taxis because of her mobility problems.

Yesterday Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC expressed concern that Jitendra Gupta was not the only cabbie in Bradford who had been taking advantage of her.

Mrs Haley told how she normally paid £4.50 for her regular journeys between her home in the Southfield Lane area and the city centre, but it emerged during Gupta's appeal hearing that the day time trips should have only cost £3.70.

Judge Durham Hall said: "It is a matter of concern that she has been routinely taken advantage of by the taxi drivers of this city."

Hackney Carriage enforcement officer Andrew Mellor revealed details of illegal practices carried out by some cabbies which included running meters while waiting at ranks to pick up fares and pressing a button on the meter to add £1 to the fare for 'extras'.

Mrs Haley told Bradford Crown Court how she got into Gupta's taxi in Westgate last May.

Although she asked to be taken to the Great Horton Road end of Southfield Lane, she said the driver took her up Little Horton Lane - adding 20 per cent to the length of the trip.

During the journey she also noticed the meter was set to a higher tariff and when they arrived Gupta asked her for £5.50.

"I said it was usually £4.50 at that time,'' said Mrs Haley.

When she got into her home Mrs Haley made a note of the taxi number on a piece of paper and after she complained Gupta was questioned.

Gupta, 58, of Hollybank Road, Bradford, told the court he could not recall the journey and claimed to be unaware of the practices referred to by Mr Mellor.

Judge Durham Hall was given details of previous offences on Gupta's record, after fe was granted a taxi licence in 1993.

Among other matters he was given a caution for overcharging in 2000 and after he failed to renew his licence he worked unlicensed in 2004.

That led to him being given a probationary licence, and after Mrs Haley complaint Bradford Council's Hackney Carriage manager Paul Mills revoked it.

City magistrates upheld that decision but Gupta appealed to the crown court.

Yesterday Mr Mills described his licence history as "abysmal", and said if he had been dealing with Gupta in 2004 he would have revoked his licence.

Gupta's barrister Ken Green pointed out his client's licence was renewed annually and he must have been deemed "fit and proper''.

Mr Green explained the unlicensed driving matter arose out of an oversight because of deaths in Gupta's family.

Gupta had been allowed to carry on working pending his appeal and Mr Mills confirmed they had received no complaints during that period.

Gupta was ordered to pay £2,000 in costs and Judge Durham Hall gave him three months to pay.