Worried taxi drivers fear for the future after spate of attacks in Grimsby and Cleethorpes
TAXI drivers fear "someone will be killed" and some are too scared to work night shifts following a string of attacks by "customers".
Cabbies in Grimsby and Cleethorpes claim the number of robberies, thefts and attacks against them has risen over the past few months – making them too intimidated to work night shifts.
They claim knife attacks, robberies and thefts by customers are happening on a weekly basis.
However, because of the time taken to file complaints with police, many self-employed drivers say they feel it is "wasting time" they could be using to earn money.
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The drivers admit that officers will attend immediately if someone has been threatened with a knife, but have "lost faith" over the response to less serious incidents, as police are slow to respond and rarely catch the culprits.
The latest victim is Trevor Blyth, 52 – who, as reported, had his ear bitten off in a violent attack in a supermarket car park by thug Luke Donner last year.
Trevor returned back to work, but during a recent night shift he was smacked and pushed to the ground by two thugs who ran away from his cab without paying. Trevor – who has been left with a permanently disfigured ear – ran after the two men who jumped out of his taxi in Sherwood Road, Grimsby, but they attacked him when he caught up with them.
He said: "These thugs just think we are easy prey and it seems people are getting away with it. I didn't even bother calling the police.
"I don't want to get back into another taxi now but, at the same time, I don't want to let them push me around.
"I have got my family to think about and need an income to support them. I am more worried about picking people up and this has brought back what happened last year."
Another driver, who did not wish to be named but has spent 17 years in the job, said: "I was attacked two years ago on the Willows Estate as I dropped off two men. One strangled me and the other held a knife to my throat before robbing me of all my fares.
"I have CCTV in my cab and the front seats are sectioned off by a glass partition, which has made me feel a bit less edgy, but a lot of drivers don't have that and they are frightened.
"A lot of the customers are drunk or are on drugs and that can lead to violence too.
"I believe that someone will get killed before long. It is happening more and more and all it would take would be for one idiot to go too far.
"The situation is out of control and something needs to be done to stop it."
As reported, earlier this month, knife-welding robber, Chasey McIver, 24, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years after holding taxi drivers Linda Richardson and Brian Conway at knife-point while high on M-Cat.
Linda is back at work now, reportedly telling friends she "will not let it beat her".
However, Per Svendsen, owner of Revells Taxis in Grimsby, says many of his drivers no longer want to work night shifts or have quit all together.
And, despite having technology to identify known taxi-runners, the number of people dodging fares is still on the rise.
He said: "The number of attacks on taxi drivers and fare dodgers has increased massively over the past month.
"Nothing seems to stop them, they don't seem to care this is our livelihood. We are trying to earn a living and times are hard enough for us without having our customers stealing from us and attacking us.
I used to have 15 drivers every night. That is down to five now. There seems to be nothing we can do."
Humberside Police are urging taxi drivers to report crimes against them – no matter how "insignificant" they might seem.
A spokesman for the force said: "Humberside Police would encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime to report it to police.
"All crimes reported are investigated and information which has been given enables detectives to gather the appropriate evidence.
"Police often rely on members of the community to provide them with information, which can assist them with enquiries and bringing offenders to justice."