AN ASPIRING private hire driver who admitted to fantasising about having sex with a child has been refused a licence.

Police were first made aware of the man in January 2010, after he claimed to be having a sexual relationship with a neighbour and her 14-year-old daughter.

The statements had been made to a different woman who had been exchanging text messages and explicit photographs with the would-be driver after he contacted her on Facebook, calling himself Dave from Barnsley.

However, after hearing his claims about the alleged sexual relationship with a child, the woman approached police officers and the man was subsequently arrested and questioned.

At this point, the man revealed that he had never had a sexual relationship with a child, although he admitted to making the claims.

He also told police that this was something he had fantasised about.

The situation was then flagged up to Bolton Council's licensing committee on sensitive cases after the man applied to be given a private hire licence.

The hearing, held earlier this month, was chaired by Cllr Madeline Murray and included Cllr Hilary Fairclough, Cllr Susan Haworth and Cllr Hamid Khurram.

This latest case follows several other private hire drivers who have had issues with their licences at hearings held by councillors in the past few months following complaints, convictions and other concerns.

These hearings are held behind closed doors, which is why the drivers are not named. However, some details are later published on the council’s website after a decision is made.

After taking into account the allegations made against the man, the committee refused to give him a licence, claiming he does nt fit with regulations as a "fit and proper person" for the role.

It relates to regulations which state that "any applicant connected to illegal sexual activity or any form of indecency" should not be granted a licence to drive a private hire vehicle.

The committee concluded: "Members of the public and in particular, the elderly, infirm and children or vulnerable adults entrust their personal safety and wellbeing to private hire drivers whenever they take a journey.

"Passengers often travel alone and are vulnerable to inappropriate behaviour.

"The sub-committee’s primary duty is of concern for the safety and wellbeing of the public

"In summary, based on the applicant’s own admitted conduct, the evidence available and the council’s statement of fitness and suitability there is therefore reasonable cause to refuse to grant the private hire driver’s licence."