A taxi driver has been held at knifepoint and forced to hand over cash.
According to the Reading Chronicle, Thames Valley Police said a man was parked in his taxi in Valentia Road, Reading, on Thursday, November 19. A man then got into the taxi between 10.30pm and 10.45pm and told the victim to drive to Forbury Gardens.
The attacker threatened the victim with a knife outside the Forbury Hotel and demanded money. Police said the victim handed over a £20 note and managed to get out the car, the offender then fled through the graveyard and onto Friar Street.
The offender is described as a white man, in his early twenties, approximately 5ft 9ins tall and with an athletic build. He had brown hair, slightly longer on top with short back and sides and he spoke with a local accent. He was wearing a black bomber jacket, black tracksuit bottoms and black trainers.
Investigator Chelsea Hughes said: “Thankfully the victim in this case was not injured, however it was a terrifying ordeal for him.
“I am appealing for witnesses to this incident, or anyone who may have information, to please come forward.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 ref 43200385332
Blackpool cabbies have warned that they will go out of business without financial help and are stepping up their battle for financial support.
LancsLive reports that the taxi drivers have seen a plea for a reduction in their licensing fees fall on deaf ears. Blackpool Council has told the sector it does not qualify for government grants being distributed by the town hall as these are for businesses based in premises with a rateable value.
Discretionary grants could be shared with drivers, but available funds are expected to have to stretch to thousands of businesses.
In a letter to the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association (BLTOA), council chief executive Neil Jack advised drivers to apply for grants aimed at supporting self-employed workers.
Mr Jack said the assistance was “the best scheme for taxi drivers to use”.
But drivers must have been self-employed for three years to qualify.
John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director of community and environmental services, offered some hope saying a scheme would soon be in place to hand out discretionary funding. He said this would be “as fair as it can be, given the relatively small amount of money that we have to play with.”
Mr Blackledge added: “There are 6,000 business addresses in Blackpool and thousands more who are self-employed, including taxi drivers. The size of the Additional Restrictions Grant is £2.8m. We are working on a scheme that will be published next week and we are hopeful that we can find some room to support the taxi industry.”
Bill Lewtas, secretary of BLTOA, said in a letter to council leader Cllr Lynn Williams: “Throughout the pandemic, there has been no financial support to the taxi trade by Blackpool Council, even though the trade generates hundreds of thousand pounds a year in licensing fees.
“The trade also generates well over £16m annually into the local economy and supports hundreds of families, who are now very close to becoming reliant on the welfare state.”
One driver said she had recently worked an eight hour shift for just £33.
She said: “I’m one of the drivers who have not been self-employed long enough to provide the three years of books you need to qualify for financial help.”
A taxi driver who head-butted a soldier, knocking one of his teeth out, has been ordered to pay £900 compensation to his victim.
The Ross-shire Journal reports that Michael Munro 28, from Inverness, admitted carrying out the assault in Bridge Street on April 25, 2019, when he recently appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court.
Fiscal depute Niall Macdonald said the incident occurred at 3am outside Johnny Foxes pub.
Munro head-butted his victim with such force he fell to the ground and one of his teeth fell out. Mr Macdonald said the tooth was recovered and was successfully put back into place.
Rory Gowans, defending, said Munro was a self-employed taxi driver who had previously served in the armed forces. There had been an encounter earlier in the evening between Munro’s friends and a group of soldiers.
Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald said: "This is an extremely violent act resulting in significant damage to someone you didn’t even know.”
Taxi nd private hire drivers across Warrington are to be offered a coronavirus support grant because the trade is continuing to see low passenger numbers as a result of the pandemic.
Warrington Worldwide reports that to provide support to the town’s 700 taxi drivers, Warrington Borough Council is offering a £210 support payment – in line with the Liverpool City Region – which can be applied for through the council’s existing additional restrictions grant (ARG).
Taxi drivers with a current licence issued by the council, who live in Warrington, may be eligible for the grant upon completing the business support grant application form online. This grant is intended for those drivers who have suffered adverse financial impact during the coronavirus restrictions in place in Warrington from October 14.
The council’s cabinet member for economic development and innovation, Cllr Tom Jennings, said: “The taxi trade in Warrington is a valued part of our local economy and we need to continue to support our drivers. We have shown our commitment to supporting Warrington’s local businesses wherever we can, and the taxi trade is no different.
“Coronavirus restrictions have caused a lot of anxiety for the trade, with patronage numbers significantly down. I hope this financial support provides some help through what I know is a very uncertain and difficult time for many.”
For more information about how to access business support grants visit:
Business support from Middlesbrough Council has been praised for making a "massive difference" and helping hundreds of taxi drivers and organisations to become Covid secure.
The authority's small grant scheme helps businesses purchase PPE equipment and undertake deep cleans to keep their premises safe for customers and visitors.
Already nearly 500 taxi drivers and more than 120 businesses have been confirmed for assistance.
To further support the Middlesbrough business community the council has increased the grant to £150 to help businesses who have been forced to close to take the opportunity to restock or deep clean as well as help those businesses still open to continue to operate safely for their staff and customers.
The support is available to Middlesbrough-based businesses with less than ten staff and includes self-employed individuals.
Cllr Ashley Waters, Middlesbrough Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, said: "We know businesses are doing all they can to try and get back on their feet and we hope this grant to make their operation Covid secure is taken up - we'd really urge all local business owners to read up on the help available."
The grant can be used to purchase protective equipment such as sanitiser, gloves and thermometers as well as carry out deep cleans and other appropriate measures to ensure public and staff are protected.
If you have already applied for this grant you can apply again (maximum 2 claims), see the business support page for full details and claim form: shorturl.at/cvFO2