A TAXI driver praised an off-duty policeman after he intervened to get three men to pay their fare after they refused.

Private hire driver Raj Patel, aged 35, picked up the trio from the Royal Oak in Bradshaw on Friday and took them to Asda's Astley Bridge store to buy beer before dropping them off in Edgworth. However, they refused to pay the £12 fare and threatened to beat him up.

Mr Patel went to Edgworth Police Station but no-one was on duty. PC Alan Hurst, who happened to be at the station, called in colleagues from Darwen and accompanied them to a house in Bury Road where they persuaded the passengers to pay up.

Mr Patel said: "The officer came along as a volunteer and it was really good of him to help sort the problem out. They warned the men to pay up or they would be put in the cells."