South Shields private hire taxi drivers targeted by window-smashing vandals in late-night attacks
Callous vandals are believed to be targeting taxi drivers in South Shields after nine private hire cabs were damaged in late-night attacks.
Drivers working in the Mowbray Road and Westoe areas of the town had their taxi windows smashed on Monday night, with police confirming they are investigating the incidents.
It follows incidents in November with the victims of this week’s vandalism believe to be linked.
Those affected say that it is private hire taxis that are being targeted rather than those belonging to firms.
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It follows our story last week in which Colin Brown, 54, who has been a taxi driver for two decades, was left unable to work three weeks after vandals smashed up his vehicle in the dead of night outside his Hebburn home.
Mr Brown’s mother was recovering from a brain tumour in hospital at the time and the damage made it difficult for him to visit her.
Officers from Northumbria Police have said the attacks “will not be tolerated” and say they are carrying out inquiries to find those responsible.
One driver who had his front and back windows smashed on Monday, but did not want to be named, told the Gazette: “This has been ongoing since last November now and it’s happening to five, six or seven taxis at a time.
“It’s putting drivers off the road and leaving them out of pocket as well.
“It’s not just the smashed windows but the glass that has gone into my seats that will have to be taken out.
“My taxi will probably be off the road until next Monday which means I’m losing money.
“Nothing has been taken from the cars just the windows smashed so it’s someone clearly trying to cause trouble.
“The first time this happened it was all Asian drivers, but this time it’s a mixture of people so I don’t see it as a racial attack.”
The driver added that a witness has reported seeing a man in dark clothing wearing a hooded top carrying out the vandalism.
He is also thought to have been on a bicycle at the time.
The driver, who has been working as a private hire driver for more than a decade in the South Shields area, added: “People might not realise that it’s affecting the public too.
“If someone is off the road then it’s harder for people to get taxis home from nights out and things.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “We are aware of a number of incidents of criminal damage to vehicles in the South Shields area on Monday night.
“I would like to reassure residents that this behaviour will not be tolerated or welcome in our area and we are carrying out enquiries to find those responsible.”
Anyone with any information about the attacks is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 79 280519 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.