Cab drivers call for action after '˜deadly' spate of town centre rock attacks

TAXI drivers are calling for urgent action as their cars continue to be battered in a years-long spate of '˜deadly' attacks.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 9th April 2018, 9:03 am
Updated Monday, 9th April 2018, 9:06 am
Matt Cane
Matt Cane

It comes after mindless thugs reignited a long-standing vendetta against Havant firms by launching missiles at cabs working in and around the town centre.

In the latest of a vicious timeline of incidents spanning as far back as 2013, criminals have resorted to pelting vehicles – some even carrying passengers – with rocks, stones and concrete.

But drivers have put on a united front after the abuse came to a head last Monday, when an item smashed the passenger window and injured the operator of a 626 car in New Road.

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Hackney Cab driver Matt Cane, 37, is leading the charge against the culprits.

He said: ‘First it was eggs, now it’s rocks – these attacks are getting deadly.

‘Whenever we pick up customers now we feel like we’re in a fairground game.

‘We are targets and we have the dents to prove it.

‘But now someone has been hurt and shaken up by one of these items, it’s time to say enough is enough.

‘These people need to be stopped and it shouldn’t take a serious accident for that to finally happen.’

As well as the smashed window – suffered by a female driver carrying a customer at the time – police were alerted to another trio of incidents on Monday.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: ‘We are investigating after receiving four reports of items thrown at taxis as they were driven along New Road in Havant between 11pm and midnight on Monday, April 3.

‘Three of the vehicles had damage to their paint work and one taxi had a broken passenger side window.’

Steve Harrison, who also works for 626, is one of many Havant drivers who have had to fork out hundreds of pounds to repair damage inflicted by the vandals.

The 48-year-old said: ‘Every time we are forced off the road it is costing money – sometimes we lose several days worth of work because of it.

‘We are coming out to earn a living just like anyone else, but to come out and feel our safety is at risk is absolutely awful.’

If they continue to be targeted, some drivers have pledged to boycott troublesome town centre routes – including New Road.

Meanwhile, Havant MP Alan Mak has vowed to push for vital police intervention in the area.

He said: ‘Our local taxi drivers are important to our economy and I condemn any criminal activity or violence towards them. I will raise this issue with the local senior police inspector and encourage them to investigate.’

Anyone with information on the incidents of Monday, April 2, should contact police by calling 101, quoting 44180121281.