A taxi firm is being investigated following claims a driver left a group of children alone in a car during a school run while he went to pray in a mosque.
According to the Lancashire Telegraph, a driver for taxi company Tiger Taxis, based in Clitheroe, has been accused of ‘negligence’ after a group of children, believed to be between 12 and 14, were left alone in one of the firm’s taxis while the driver was dropping them home from Coal Clough Academy, in Burnley after 1pm on a recent Friday.
Tiger Taxis is contracted to provide transport for school children from the Swindon Street academy by Lancashire County Council. The taxi driver is alleged to have gone to the mosque after he received a phone call from one of his friends who told him it was “time to go and pray” while the children were being driven home in the taxi.
The driver stopped his car near a mosque in Nelson and left the children in the car for 15 minutes, it has been claimed. One of the children in the car, Paul Jackson Jr, was then 30 minutes late getting to his home in Barnoldswick, his father said.
Paul Jackson, who lives a 30-minute car journey away from the academy, said he was furious after he learnt his 13-year-old son was one of the children left alone in the vehicle.
He said: “It’s highly unacceptable and unsafe to leave children alone in a car.”
The 44-year-old has now called for the driver to be sacked following the incident.
He said: “I want to see an apology from Lancashire County Council and for them to sack the company because they are responsible for this.”
Coal Clough Academy, which was contacted about the incident, said the issue has been ‘escalated’ to County Hall.
A spokesman from Coal Clough Academy said: “We have been made aware of the issue and escalated it to Lancashire County Council who organise transport on our behalf and they are dealing with it in the appropriate way.”
Lancashire County Council is now investigating the allegations made by Mr Jackson.
A spokesman said: “I can confirm that we have been made aware of an issue which we are currently investigating.”
Burnley Cllr Tony Martin, who represents the area, said the taxi firm should be ‘reprimanded’ if the company and driver are found to be guilty of the allegations levelled against them.
He said: “I hope a thorough investigation is taking place and if that is the case make sure they are reprimanded. It’s about the safety of the children, which is paramount.”
Tiger Taxis was contacted but declined to comment.