Warning over bogus taxi drivers after series of sex attacks

West Midlands Police are raising awareness of fake taxi drivers over the festive period after a number of sexual offences, particularly against lone females.

Police release 'taxi tips' for Christmas party season

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Christmas party tonight? Taxi tip 1: Think about how you are getting home. Pre-book your taxi and share your journey with mates. #wmpxmas

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Taxi tip 2: Only Hackney Carriages can take on street fares. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable at the hands of bogus cabbies. #wmpxmas

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Taxi tip 3: Private hire drivers plying for ‘on-street’ business aren’t insured in the event of an accident. Always book your taxi. #wmpxmas

Dodgy cabbies involved in dozens of attacks on women

Dodgy cabbies have been responsible for dozens of attacks over the past two years - with their main target being lone female passengers, police revealed today.

In 2011 and 2012, West Midlands Police received 75 reports of offences committed by taxi drivers or people pretending to be taxi drivers.

Public protection sergeant Sarah Little said while the number was relatively small given the number of taxis operating in Birmingham, victims could suffer from the memory of an attack for years afterwards.

She advised booking in advance and always travelling with someone else.

It’s vitally important, especially in the Christmas party season where people are more likely to drink to excess, that return taxi journeys are booked in advance.

The old phrase ‘safety in numbers’ applies as offenders will look for lone females, so stick with friends – and only ever get into licensed taxis.

– Sgt Sarah Little, West Midlands Police

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Teenage girl's terror after sex attack by fake cabbie

A teenage girl has spoken of her terror when a man posing as a taxi driver attacked and sexually assaulted her in his car after a night out in Birmingham.

The 19-year-old, from Northamptonshire, had been out with friends in Broad Street, and had climbed into what she believed to be a registered cab waiting in the popular nightspot.

She fell asleep - and, minutes later, she awoke to find the man pinning her down in the front passenger seat and subjecting her to a serious sexual assault.

Bogus taxi driver Shakeel Ahmed, aged 31, from Sparkhill, Birmingham
Bogus taxi driver Shakeel Ahmed, aged 31, from Sparkhill, Birmingham Credit: West Midlands Police

Shakeel Ahmed, aged 31, of Newton Road in Sparkhill, Birmingham, was jailed for five years at Birmingham Crown Court last week after being found guilty of sexual assault by penetration.

Police had tracked him down through DNA found on the girl's clothing.

The girl has now added her voice to a campaign by West Midlands Police to raise awareness of the dangers of getting into an unregistered taxi.

We’d been drinking before heading out to bars in Broad Street and to be honest most of the night is a blur but I vaguely remember coming out of Gatecrasher and getting into a car at the taxi rank.

It turned out this was a man posing as a taxi driver and on the look-out for vulnerable women he could take advantage of.

I passed out in the taxi and woke up to find him on top of me - it was terrifying. I ran off bare-footed not stopping to get my shoes from the car.

Read: Unlicensed taxis: police warn of dangers during Christmas period

Unlicensed taxis: police warn of dangers during Christmas period

West Midlands Police says to only use black cabs or taxis which have been booked
West Midlands Police says to only use black cabs or taxis which have been booked Credit: PA Wire

People in the West Midlands are being warned about the dangers of using unlicensed taxis during the Christmas period.

West Midlands Police says women on their own are at particular risk after a number of sexual offences involving bogus taxis.

It says passengers should only used taxis which have been booked or black cabs.