BURY Council could heed to calls from cabbies to change its rules on number plates to protect passengers and drivers.

The town hall has been considering whether to remove the requirement for a front licence plate on private hire vehicles and hackney carriages.

This comes after drivers told councillors of attackers targeting taxis and of one case in which yobs threw stones through a window, narrowly missing a man’s head.

Cllr Tahir Rafiq, who chairs the licensing and safety panel, said the move was proposed for the "betterment" of the taxi drivers and their passengers.

He said: "I consider the safety of both the public and the drivers just as important as each other. Everybody should be able to work in a safe environment. Hence why we are looking into this. The safety of both drivers and the public is paramount."

The proposal comes after one cabbie told councillors of an incident which he believes could have been avoided if the rules were different.

In October, Usman Tariq had been working in Prospect Street, Heywood, when a brick was thrown through his back window littering the passenger seats with broken glass.

He said: “It didn’t frighten me but it was only a one foot gap from maybe hitting me in the head.”

Drivers warned that private hire vehicles and taxis are regularly targeted by gangs of vandals who throw bricks and other projectiles.

They called on the local authority to change current rules which they claim enable the thugs to spot taxis from a distance.

Representing Bury Private Hire Drivers Association, Shaf Mahmood said: “As soon as they see the front plate they know it’s a taxi.

"They can see from a mile away that it’s a taxi with a yellow plate in front. There are many other councils who allow no front plates for the safety of the passengers and the driver and anyone using that car."

Mr Mahmood requested that the council review its policy on permanent vehicle signs which he claimed were similarly putting drivers and their families at risk.

The licensing and safety panel met last week but refused the drivers' request, asking instead that officers consider changing the rules so that the required licence plate is smaller rather than removing it entirely from the front of the vehicle.

The next meeting is scheduled for January 9.