A GRIEVING cab driver has attacked council bureaucrats because she was forced to hand back her taxi licence after her husband - and fellow driver - died suddenly.

Supee Juachan, 50, from Benfleet, and her late husband Phillip, were both ABC taxi drivers for the Castle Point area.

Phillip owned both the cars and the licenses but Supee was allowed to use them to carry passengers herself.

Phillip died last month having suffered from an undetected cancer and Supee says she was left shocked at how she was treated by Castle Point Council’s licensing department when she informed them of the death.

She said: “I went down there straight away to inform them and they waited until I had left, then called me 20 minutes later to say they need to take the plates back and I’m no longer allowed to be a taxi driver. It’s dreadful.

“The council never said sorry for my loss or offered any extra time. We owe the bank thousands now and even they have been understanding and given me some time to get things together after Phillip’s death.

“The council has not been understanding at all. They don’t care about my loss or my job. They don’t care about how I earn my living, it’s ridiculous.”

Supee described Phillip - who had worked as a taxi driver for ten years - as the heart of the community and a man who would do anything for his customers and for someone in need of his help.

The widow added: “I became a taxi driver around three years ago because of Phil. I still have a valid badge. “I [have] put a complaint into the council to just be told the same thing. I’ve even been told to just sign on to Universal Credit. It’s just cold-hearted.”

A spokesman for Castle Point Council said: “The council recognises that circumstances are extremely distressing but as notified to the lady’s solicitor the council must act in accordance with the approved conditions and regulations which relate to Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles and is unable to make exceptions in individual cases notwithstanding the particular and personal loss which has been suffered.”