Taxis 'coming under daily attack' from yobs lobbing bricks in Sheffield

Sheffield taxi driver Lee Ward, who is chairman of ALPHA (A Local Private Hire Association)
Sheffield taxi driver Lee Ward, who is chairman of ALPHA (A Local Private Hire Association)
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Taxi drivers in Sheffield are coming under daily attack from yobs lobbing bricks and stones at their vehicles, a cabbie has claimed.

Lee Ward, chairman of ALPHA (A Local Private Hire Association), says parts of the city are now so dangerous drivers remove their detachable signage when passing through to make them less of a visible target.

He claims it is only a matter of time before a driver, passenger or other road user is seriously injured when a car is hit or swerves to avoid one of the missiles.

"It's happening every night. We get warnings over our system when drivers are attacked telling us to be careful because kids are throwing stones," he said.

"Police need to do something. If one of those bricks knocks a driver out anything could happen to the passengers or pedestrians.

"I know of two drivers who have been caught in the face with a brick. Luckily, neither was seriously injured, but it's only a matter of time."

Mr Ward says vehicles are particularly prone to such assaults in the Castlebeck, East Bank Road, Southey and Parson Cross areas, but he claims police do not treat the attacks as a priority.

Taxis are deliberately targeted, rather than other cars, he says, possibly because the culprits wrongly believe cabbies who will have to foot the bill for any damage.

Drivers have also grown accustomed to having eggs lobbed at their windows, says Mr Ward, which although it may sound relatively trivial can dangerously obscure their vision.

"Perhaps police should put a taxi sign on one of their cars and drive round these areas and see how long it is before it happens to them," said Mr Ward, who claims to have been targeted three times.

The Star recently reported how a bus window was broken by a brick lobbed at the vehicle as it passed through Mosborough. Police have also told how cars were damaged this month by vandals throwing stones in City Road, Sheffield.

Chief Inspector Lydia Lynskey, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "We work closely in partnership with local taxi companies and operators to identify issues and incidents that have happened and are causing concern.

"Only yesterday (Tuesday) I met with representatives from the licensing authority and no issues were reported or brought to my attention. However, any reports we do receive are taken seriously and investigated fully.

"South Yorkshire Police are committed to working with our communities to create a strong working relationship in order to keep all of our residents safe.

"If you have any concerns or would like to report an incident to police, please do not hesitate to contact us on 101. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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