By Becca Husselbee
A taxi firm is making plans to boycott a housing estate after youths in the area have attacked their cars with drills and smashed their windows to grab goods left on the seats.
Cresta Cars, a firmed based in North Manchester with 320 drivers on their books, has now made plans to boycott the Moston area of Manchester after 26 of its drivers have been attacked by gangs in the last two-weeks alone.
Manager Derek Brocklehurst, 48, has been with the company for the seven years but says that in the last 12 months they have seen a huge rise in hoax calls, luring taxi drivers into the area before what he describes as ‘modern day highway men’ attack the cars and loot its contents.
The manager believes that not enough is being done by police due to lack of manpower and groups of youths now thinking they will not be caught for their crimes.
Derek said: “Over the last year we have seen sporadic attacks on our workers, especially when children are on school holidays, they often throw bricks at the cars.
“But the last two weeks we have seen two to three window screens a day smashed in the area, costing our driver £200 a time.
“Youths will walk in front of the cars to block them from driving away or even use a drill to pop the tyres or damage the cars before pulling open the doors or smashing windows to take whatever is on the seats, even when passengers are in the vehicle.
“They are taking handbags, phones, money and watches and could be grabbing up to £800 worth of stuff a day.
“We are being forced to avoid the area because drivers are so fearful of further attacks and damage to their cars. They do not earn a lot and they just can’t afford the repairs.”
After reporting incidents to police, the manager claims that they do not have the man power to send out officers and are given a crime reference number after police have also suggested loaning the company dashboard cameras.
Derek believes that the lack of police presence has left youths in the area thinking they can now get away with committing crime, leading to a rise in the amount of attacks over the last two weeks.
Drivers are also claiming that they fear their licenses will be revoked by the local council if they retaliate and also worry that innocent people may be hurt when caught in the middle of the chaotic attacks.
Steve Moran, 62, a taxi driver for nearly 19 years said: “The damage that is caused to our cars is costing us a fortune and we are already struggling to make money.
“A lot of drivers just want to keep their heads down and get on with their job and they know that if they report it to the police nothing will be done about it.
“It’s become lawless Britain.
“We have to make sure our doors are locked at junctions. That’s how bad it is here.
“It definitely got worse after the darker winter night began because the kids know they can’t be seen or caught.
“They have even attacked young girls in cars on their own but they think taxis are an easy targets.
“They are taking advantage of police cuts and it is only going to get worse.”
A comment from Greater Manchester Police said that it was hoping to crackdown on antisocial behaviour and that it would no longer tolerate violence.
Chief Inspector Denise Pye of GMP’s City of Manchester team said: “The recent attacks on business owners and members of the community are very concerning.
“Everyone should be able to do their job without fear and we will not tolerate acts of violence or antisocial behaviour in our community.
“We’ve been working tirelessly with the local community, Manchester City Council and other partners, and thanks to their accounts and reports have been able to build a wider picture around these incidents.
“This work doesn’t stop here. As we progress with our investigation, we’re able to identify further key areas where the offences are happening, and we have been able to gather intelligence on those committing the offences.
“It’s really important that any offences are reported to police so that we can act on it at the earliest possible opportunity. In an emergency call 999, in a non-emergency or to report an incident that has already happened ring 101 or use the new live chat function on the GMP website.”