A Covingham taxi driver whose vehicle was broken into has criticised the reaction of police, after being told he should collate evidence of the crime himself.
Ian Hunt, 60, felt the crime wasn’t being taken seriously, after being told that he should gather shards of glass and other items in the car which had been handled by the vandals into a plastic bag, for police officers to collect when they arrived at the scene.
The incident comes after Wiltshire Police were criticised in the wake of a spate of thefts from taxis and minicabs over the last year, with thieves smashing windows and stealing satellite navigation systems, dashboard cameras and cash.
Ian told the Swindon Advertiser: “There are thousands of pieces of glass everywhere, and I was told by the police to pick up the large shards of glass and put them into an envelope.
“There are things inside which have been touched, the glove box has been opened, the steering wheel must have been touched as well.
“The annoying thing is that they’ve admitted that the fingerprints will get worse over time. This is happening a lot, the exact same thing, so obviously it’s an ongoing situation.”
The incident occurred in the early hours of a recent Thursday morning, and officers from Wiltshire Police’s CSI unit attended the scene later that afternoon.
But Ian felt that more needed to be done to tackle the targeting of taxis, and wanted to raise awareness of the high risk to cabs in the area. He said: “Taxis are clearly being targeted, be-cause there’s another car on the drive which wasn’t touched at all.
“It’s a serious, ongoing problem, and the attitude of police doesn’t help – obviously every crime gets categorised, but there’s no such thing as a good crime, is there?
“How would you feel if you’ve had your car window broken, and you know there’s stuff that might have been touched, and you’re told to collect it yourself?
“This is definitely not what you would call an isolated incident. This is a serious thing, it is affecting people’s businesses and livelihoods.”
Ian’s complaints echo those of minicab driver Benson Mwangi, who said that more needed to be done to tackle the targeting of taxis by thieves.
He said: “I think the police need to divert more resources to this area.
“These days they don’t even visit. Before, they used to come and collect glass samples.”