Havant taxi firm boss fears vendetta by vandals

NOT HAPPY Owner of 626 Cars Steve Elsley
NOT HAPPY Owner of 626 Cars Steve Elsley

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THE owner of a taxi firm says he fears the company may be the target of a vendetta after his vehicles were repeatedly targeted by vandals.

Steve Elsley set up 626 Cars in Havant a year ago with two cars, but the firm has grown to employ 28 drivers.

On the evening of July 5, three cars bearing the company logo had all four tyres slashed, even though they were parked in different locations and no other nearby vehicles were touched.

Then on Monday, another vehicle belonging to the firm had paint stripper poured over the roof, causing more than £800 of damage.

Mr Elsley, 44, from Havant, said his drivers have also been subjected to public taunts from people who falsely claim their vehicles are uninsured.

Havant Borough Council has confirmed to The News the firm has a licence which would not have been issued if the drivers did not have insurance.

In a separate move the communications watchdog Ofcom launched an investigation into the firm after being told it was operating without a radio airwaves licence – an allegation that was also untrue.

Mr Elsley said: ‘We’ve been going really well over the past year and we want this business to keep growing.

‘But this has been awful. I feel gutted for the drivers whose cars have been targeted – a new set of tyres costs about £200 a time.

‘The paint stripper job happened in broad daylight in the car park of a block of flats between 2pm and 5pm.

‘Whoever did it was pretty brazen. In the long run this could hurt us, if it carries on. Someone must have seen something.’

Police have confirmed they are investigating and no arrests have been made yet.

The incidents on July 5:

· White Skoda Octavia parked in Middle Park Way, Leigh Park – tyres slashed.

· Silver Peugeot 307 parked in Sharps Road, West Leigh – tyres slashed.

· Black Vauxhall Vectra, parked in Longstock Road, West Leigh – tyres slashed.

· A silver Skoda Octavia had paint stripper poured over it on July 11 in Padnell Avenue, Waterlooville, between 2pm and 5pm.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.