Taxi drivers in Sheffield coming under attack from yobs lobbing bricks
Taxi drivers in Sheffield are coming under attack from yobs lobbing bricks - and they want police to do more to protect them.
At least eight drivers across the city were targeted in the space of just three days last week, according to Lee Ward, chairman of ALPHA (A Local Private Hire Association), which has around 400 members.
All but two of those attacks took place in Gleadless Valley, where buses have been diverted in recent days due to youths throwing missiles, with the others in Shiregreen and Woodhouse.
Mr Ward said those responsible appear to deliberately target buses and taxis, rather than other vehicles.
And he claims there are a number of hotspots around the city - the worst being Gleadless Valley, Wood house, Shiregreen and Shirecliffe - but the problem can flare up almost anywhere.
He believes police should do more to protect drivers and ensure those responsible are caught.
"We have raised this with police on numerous occasions, and asked them to allocate a contact number for us to report any incidents, but they've done nothing to assist the trade.
"They tell us to report it by calling 101 but by the time you get through the culprits have probably gone home, had their dinner and are tucked up in bed or playing on their Xbox.
"It's probably bored kids doing it, who think it's just a game and probably don't realise how serious the consequences could be.
"If it smashes the windscreen a driver could easily lose control and hit someone.
"Last week, one driver was startled when a brick hit his car, and ended up crashing. He could easily have hit a pedestrian."
Mr Ward added that it's not just bricks and stones being hurled at taxis, but eggs too.
Although this sounds more innocent, he pointed out that it can be impossible to clear and can obscure vision so badly it could easily cause a crash.
Mr Ward said drivers wanted a faster response when incidents were reported in a particular area, and he suggested officers should try putting taxi signage on an unmarked police car and 'see what happens' when they drive through those areas.
He claimed the best deterrent would be to catch some of the culprits and 'make an example of them before someone gets hurt'.