MOST private hire vehicles will stop operating in Blackburn with Darwen borough indefinitely from midnight tonight.

The move follows a meeting of proprietors this afternoon over concerns of coronavirus.

Most black hackney cabs are understood to have stopped plying the trade on the borough's streets because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Qasim Khan, owners of Matrix Private Hire of Higher Barn Street in Blackburn, said: "A meeting of private hire firm owners this afternoon decided to stop operating.

"The black taxi cabs are already off the streets.

"This is about falling numbers of customers and drivers.

"We have been thinking about this for two or three days because of the health risk from coronavirus.

"Drivers just do not know who is going to get in the car next.

"The owners will review the position in three weeks."

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council's highways boss, said: "This was inevitable given the circumstances."