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Taxi firm says it's 'catering to demand'

The story in today's Guardian.

Nine men from Pakistan and Afghanistan were jailed for a total of 77 years in May 2012 for plying young, vulnerable girls with drink and drugs so they could "pass them around" for sex.

A serious case review highlighted a catalogue of "shocking" failures and found that social workers and police adopted a "colour blind" approach that was "potentially dangerous".

Mr Campbell's firm, Car 2000, took over Eagle Taxis, a firm which formerly employed two drivers at the heart of the scandal, in May 2011.

But he said he only discovered that two former employees were part of grooming ring when they were on the news for being in court the following year.

He said at least two other taxi firms in the borough of Rochdale only employed white drivers, but 60% of the cabbies on his books were Asian.

Danczuk: "It's a worrying sign"

"This story is not unique to Rochdale, but it is a worrying sign of some of the tensions that still exist in the wake of the grooming scandal.

"There is clearly a lot of work to be done in terms of rebuilding community relations. The whole town wants to move on from this scandal and politicians have a duty to talk openly about these issues."

– Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale

"Any private-hire business must satisfy a 'fit and proper' test before they are licensed by the council and able to operate within the borough.

"While we have not had any complaints regarding Car 2000 up to this point, we are now taking legal advice as to whether their policy to offer white drivers contravenes the 'fit and proper' test, and will act accordingly depending on the outcome of that advice."

– Mark Widdup, Rochdale Borough Council

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Taxi firm provides "white drivers on demand"

A Rochdale taxi firm is providing white drivers to customers on request, the Guardian newspaper has claimed.

The report says that the firm, Car 2000, told them customers are asking for white drivers as a result of the grooming scandal.

Two of the defendants in the case were taxi drivers and were jailed for their part in the rape and trafficking of young white girls.

They worked for Eagle Taxis, which was later taken over by Car 2000.

We have had quite a lot of customers requesting what they call a ‘local’ driver. A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale.

– Stephen Campbell, manager of Car 2000, speaking to the Guardian

Rochdale MP calls for chairwoman of historic child sex abuse inquiry to stand down

Fiona Woolf has come under increasing pressures to step down as chairman of the inquiry into historical child sex abuse Credit: PA

Rochdale's Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who led the campaign for an inquiry into historic child sex abuse , said Fiona Woolf should step down from here role as chairman after she revealed her social social relationship with former home secretary Lord Brittan.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London confirmed that she had attended dinner parties at Lord Britan's house and hosted the Tory peer and his wife on three occasions, but insisted she did not have a "close association" with the former cabinet minister.

Mr Danczuk said Mrs Woolf and Lord Brittan were "clearly good friends" and she should stand down as chairwoman.

Background: Fiona Woolf to chair abuse inquiry.

Report: A new appeal over cover up of abuse at Knowl View

Police say it's time to help them track down anyone who conspired to cover up allegations of sexual abuse at a boys' school in Rochdale.

A number of boys who attended Knowl View School say they were abused by the former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith and others between the 1960s and the 1990s.

Greater Manchester Police have announced a hotline - 0161 856 0310 - for people to call with information.

One man has told us how he spoke out nearly 20-years before the school was closed and was ignored. He says countless lives were destroyed.

Our correspondent, Matt O'Donoghue reports:

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Police release E-fit of man wanted for Rochdale rape

Police E-fit of man wanted for Rochdale rape Credit: GMP

Police have released an E-fit of a man who is wanted for the rape of a 24-year-old woman in an alleyway in the Bamford area of Rochdale.

The incident took place shortly after 4.30am on Saturday, October 11.

The victim has been through a terrible ordeal but I can reassure both her and the community that we are determined to catch the man responsible.

“The victim has managed to provide enough details for us to put together an E-fit so I would now like people to have a look and tell us if they recognise the man.

"I would ask anyone who witnessed the attack to please get in touch. Were you driving or walking near to where the incident took place and see anything suspicious? We believe a man may have been walking near to where the incident took place and I would appeal for him to come forward to let us know if he saw anything."

– Detective Inspector James Faulkner, Rochdale Police.

Anyone with information should phone police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 55 111.

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