March 10 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A taxi driver who was mugged in the street has urged other cabbies to stay vigilant when carrying cash.
Paul Knappett, from Trimley St Martin, was returning to his vehicle after using the toilet at a restaurant in Woodbridge last Friday evening, when a man punched him in the stomach and tried to steal the money pouch around his neck, containing about £15.
The 33-year-old had just dropped off a fare from Felixstowe when the attack happened, at about 8pm in Seckford Street. Mr Knappett said: “I dropped the customer off and pulled round the corner to park and use the toilet. When I came out and went to get back in the car I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned round to see who it might be and got punched in the stomach. He punched me right on top of my hernia. It was a quick in-and-out jab of someone who maybe knows martial arts. I doubled up in pain and that’s when he tried to get the strap over my head.
“He didn’t seem all that strong but I’m a pretty big bloke and I was wearing a hoodie, which stopped the strap from coming over my head.
“There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, then he must have lost grip or balance and ran off down the road. I would have handed him the baton at the Olympics for the speed he sprinted off down Seckford Street.”
It wasn’t the first time Mr Knappett has been the target of thieves. He was forced to move house after his car was broken into twice outside his old address in the last two years.
The cabbie of four-and-a-half years has also faced passengers running off without paying, and says taxis are being broken into more frequently than ever before. “We’re a walking target to some people at this time of year,” he said. “We’re not allowed to arm ourselves with anything that might make people realise we’re not going to take it anymore.
“Another solution might be to have card payment machines in the car and never leave the driver’s seat, but that’s just not practical.”
Police are appealing for information following the attempted robbery. The suspect was white, in his 20s, taller than 6ft, wearing white chunky trainers, black jacket and gloves.
Call Suffolk Coastal CID on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously if required, on 0800 555 111.