A former council employee has accepted "substantial damages" and an apology from the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over false accusations that he was a "fixer" for cab drivers who were abusing young girls in Rochdale.

Wajed Iqbal, 44, took legal action against Associated Newspapers over a May 2017 article which was headed: "Scandal of the minicab predators."

The article, which was also published on the MailOnline website, made the "grave allegation" that Mr Iqbal had been a "fixer" for taxi drivers in Rochdale "who were committing crimes against young girls", the High Court heard.

Mr Iqbal was also wrongly said to have been given a warning by South Ribble Borough Council, where he worked as a minicab licensing officer between 2014 and 2017, over alleged deficiencies in his work.

At a hearing in London on Thursday, his barrister William Bennett QC told Mr Justice Soole: "These allegations were false. They have caused huge and continuing distress to Mr Iqbal.

"Nevertheless, Mr Iqbal is satisfied that the defendant has come to court to offer its sincere apologies to him for making the allegations complained of and to acknowledge that they were false."

Mr Bennett told the court that Mr Iqbal had previously worked as a licensing enforcement officer for Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council between 2005 and 2011, but was not involved in minicab licensing.

He added that Associated Newspapers had agreed to pay Mr Iqbal substantial damages and not to republish the false allegations.

The amount of damages to be paid to Mr Iqbal was not stated during the hearing.

Speaking to Asian Image today Wajed said, "The Mail on Sunday have accepted the allegations were false. It is quite obvious therefore why they targeted myself and not anyone else from South Ribble Borough Council; that I am a Muslim with a Pakistani heritage and this fitted their narrative agenda of Islamophobia.

"South Ribble Borough Council instead of supporting me, fired me."