PEOPLE are being warned to watch out for unlicensed taxis after the death of a Wakefield woman.
Kirklees councillor Peter Sykes, chairman of the council's licensing and safety committee, said passengers should check for signs that the taxi is licensed before getting inside.
His warning follows the death of travel agent Stephanie Hammill, 20, who got into a vehicle she thought was a taxi and was abducted after a night out in Wakefield on November 29.
Her fiance, James Garland, 22, was left standing as the dark saloon car sped away before he had chance to get in.
Police believe Stephanie escaped from the car and was then hit by another vehicle seconds later as she stood in the road.
James hailed a passing police car and five minutes later they discovered Stephanie's body, a mile- and-a-half away at Batley Road close to Wrenthorpe.
Police have released CCTV pictures of the couple taken moments before her abduction.
They are hoping the pictures will lead to people coming forward with information.
Clr Sykes said: "According to reports, this lady thought she was getting into a taxi.
"In the run-up to Christmas and the New Year thousands of people will be using taxis and I would urge them to check they are getting into a licensed taxi."
He said Kirklees has two types of taxi - hackney carriages which can be hailed in the street and private hire cars, which have to be booked in advance.
Hackney carriage taxis are all white and have a taxi roof sign.
Private hire cars are clearly marked as private hire taxis on the doors.
Clr Sykes said the council was trying to develop an identification system for all private hire cars to adopt.
"We would like all private hire cars to display a self adhesive rear window plate together with consistent front door signs which will have the Kirklees logo, their plate number and a space for them to advertise their business.
"It is important for passenger safety for people using taxis to be confident they are properly licensed. Bogus and unlicensed taxi drivers give the trade a bad name and I am pleased at the co-operation we get from the taxi trade in the district."
Unlicensed taxis are illegal, may not have been examined for safety or roadworthiness, may not have an MOT and will not be insured to carry fare paying passengers.
Drivers will also not have been vetted to ensure they are suitable to carry passengers.