‘Terrified’ youngster in Batley taxi-theft drama
A TAXI driver has told of the ‘shocking’ moment his car was stolen from outside a supermarket this week.
The thief struck on Tuesday at 11am at a taxi bay outside Tesco Extra in Bradford Road, Batley, after cabbie Yaseen Younis got out of his car to help a family with their baggage.
It is the latest in a spate of similar taxi thefts in the area.
Mr Younis, a driver with Oakwell Taxis, said he stopped to pick up a young mother, her partner and her two-year-old girl. He got out of the taxi to help load the family’s pushchair into the car, while the woman started putting her child in the taxi.
Mr Younis said his keys were attached to the belt loop on his trousers, but out of nowhere a man ran up behind him and snatched the keys off his belt.
He said the man then got into the car and locked the doors. The mother managed to pull her daughter out of the way just in time before the car drove off.
He said: “Within seconds all I heard was the little girl crying, wheels spinning, and the woman, my customer, shouting, ‘Your car, your car!’
“I think the girl was shaken up. She’s small – she doesn’t know about the world and car thieves. She was crying and she was terrified.”
Mr Younis, 29, who owned the car, said he had lost his livelihood. He said he had also lost two jackets, takings of around £70, a taxi radio and an iPhone, which had all been in his car.
But he said the biggest blow was the loss of an envelope containing £500, which he was planning to take to the bank later that day and had been in the cab.
He said: “It’s shocking, really.”
Batley Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) co-ordinator Martyn Lee warned motorists to be vigilant. He said the suspect was described as an Asian male wearing a white baseball cap.
The theft comes after three similar incidents in the Spen Valley, including one outside Tesco in Cleckheaton on Sunday in which a cabbie was taken hostage in his own taxi.
Akooji Badat, of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Associations in North Kirklees, said these crimes were a growing problem in the area.
He said: “Helping customers out with their shopping is something that taxi drivers have done in good faith for many years, so this spate of thefts is a huge problem, because our drivers never envisage anything happening like this.”
Any witnesses or anyone with information should contact police on 101.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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