Concern at violence towards taxi drivers

TAXI bosses have warned that violence towards their drivers is becoming a “growing menace” in west Suffolk - after a gang of thugs smashed up a vehicle as the terrified cabbie looked on.

TAXI bosses have warned that violence towards their drivers is becoming a “growing menace” in west Suffolk - after a gang of thugs smashed up a vehicle as the terrified cabbie looked on.

The incident in Bury St Edmunds came just days after a Sudbury taxi driver was held at knifepoint and robbed by a passenger.

Although police said the latest incident might have been a “random act of violence”, taxi bosses said their drivers should remain vigilant.

A spokesman for ABC taxis, based in Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds, said: “There does seem to be quite a lot more incidents lately and it is definitely a growing menace.


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“The way things are going we could end up having all our drivers in black taxi-style vehicles, which are virtually armoured.

“But this would detract from the business and wouldn't be as friendly. Attacks on taxi cabs are worrying because if someone attacks a vehicle, then you can't challenge the thugs because you could then get attacked yourself.

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“Personal threats or any form of violence shouldn't be tolerated in any company but unfortunately this is a business where there is a risk due to the extreme hours.”

A spokesman for Bury-based Premier Taxis added: “The safety of our drivers is the most important thing and something we take completely seriously. Our policy is that if someone looks dodgy, we don't pick them up. But sometimes there isn't a thing anyone can do.”

In the latest incident, four men walked to the front of a taxi, forcing the driver - whose name and company has not been released - to stop in the early hours of Saturday in Beetons Way, Bury.

One of the men stayed in front of the vehicle while the other three went to the back of the car and smashed the rear window, dented bodywork and broke a wiper blade.

The men were all young with two wearing baseball caps and the other two dressed in “hoodies”.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “It might not be the fact that the victim was a taxi driver - it was probably just that it was a car in the wrong street at the wrong time and these men wanted to commit a random act of violence.”

Last week, a taxi driver was left “traumatised” after a passenger held a blade to his neck as he stopped in Falconer Road, Haverhill.

Anyone with information about either incident should contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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