Yob gang throw­ing rocks

Middleton Guardian - - SPECIAL REPORT - EMMA CURRY

TAXI driv­ers are scared to go to work be­cause youths pelt their cabs with stones, bricks and bot­tles.

For the past six months, cab­bies in Mid­dle­ton town cen­tre say they have been tar­geted by large groups of teenagers around 14 to 16 years old, who throw ‘any­thing they can find’ at their cars.

Ab­dul Rahim, aged 40, who has been a taxi driver in Mid­dle­ton for the past four to five years, said the ex­pe­ri­ence is ‘ re­ally fright­en­ing’.

He added: “As soon as they see a taxi com­ing they start chuck­ing stones, bricks, bot­tles, any­thing they can find.

“It’s re­ally dan­ger­ous, you’re driv­ing and some­thing comes from nowhere. I’ve got two big dents and I’ll have to pay to fix them my­self. I just can’t af­ford it.

“It’s not like you can con­front the kids, when there’s a big group of them and they start com­ing to­wards you, it’s threat­en­ing.

“There are at least 10 to 15 of them.”

Ab­dul, who works for Con­nect Cars, based on Wood Street, Mid­dle­ton, says he and other driv­ers have re­ported the is­sue to po­lice, but don’t feel any ac­tion is be­ing taken.

“Some­times I’m scared to go out,” Ad­bul, who lives in Old­ham, added.

“The po­lice gave me an in­ci­dent num­ber and had a walk around the area, but they didn’t see any­thing. Some­thing has to be done.”

Fel­low cab­bie Khizar Rehman, 35, who has worked for Con­nect Cars for al­most 10 years, said: “Kids are throw­ing stones and eggs al­most ev­ery night, try­ing to break cars’ win­dows and bod­ies. It’s hard to work in this sit­u­a­tion. We can’t trace them, we can’t fight with them.”

Khalil Ahmad, aged 50, of Greave Av­enue, Rochdale, has worked for Con­nect Cars for three years. He added: “They throw stones and eggs on my minibus. We are re­ally scared to drive in night time. It’s not safe for us and the cus­tomers.”

Azher Hus­sain, an op­er­a­tor for Con­nect Cars, says the prob­lem af­fects driv­ers from all com­pa­nies and added that ‘this is caus­ing driv­ers to not want to work and to go home early from shifts’.

The 23-year-old from Rochdale claims that the worst ar­eas for at­tacks from youths are around Natwest Bank and the McDon­ald’s car park, as well as Mount Road, Grimshaw Lane and Main­way.

“Youths gather and throw stones and abuse at taxi driv­ers,” he added. “Re­cently they are putting paint on taxis that are parked up. All our driv­ers feel help­less.”

Taxi driver Khizar Rehman, who is fed up of youths dam­ag­ing his cab by throw­ing stones, bricks and bot­tles

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