A cabbie has told how passers-by recently stepped in to help as he chased a fare dodger who fled through a window.
The taxi driver, 54, picked up the customer at Basildon train station. The man asked to be taken to Barking, in East London.
The cabbie, from Basildon, quickly grew suspicious that the passenger wasn’t intending to pay his fare.
The driver told the Basildon Echo: “I was at Basildon train station taxi rank. A chap came up and asked if I could take him to Barking.
“As I was driving him there, I did start to wonder if I should have asked for the money up front as it would be about £50 on the meter.
“We got to some traffic lights in Barking and he was trying to open the door. I have a London taxicab so I locked the doors which I can do from the front.
“However, he wound down the window, held onto it and then jumped out feet first and ran off.”
Luckily for the driver, the lights turned green. He pursued the fare dodger down several roads before losing sight of him.
He added: “I decided to go to the station and there he was, walking along as if nothing had happened.
“I jumped out and grabbed hold of him. There were a group of people there so I said that he had not paid the fare.”
He told how a passerby called the police.
As the cabbie tried to grab hold of the passenger, he punched him in the face in a bid to escape. Two men walking past were able to grab him and waited for officers to arrive at the scene.
The taxi driver said: “I got a black eye from when he punched me. It was a good job that those people help-ed. The man kept saying the police wouldn’t come.
“It took 45 minutes before they turned up but they were very professional when they did.
“People seem to think it is their God given right to get a taxi and not have to pay for it. That isn’t the case.”
The customer was later identified as Gideon Kooman, 20, from Newham.
He appeared at Barking Magistrates’ Court on 30 May and was made to pay £135 compensation and £85 in costs. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of community work.