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  1. ITV Report

Spate of break-ins targeting private hire taxis in Reading

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Private hire taxi drivers are being warned to protect their vehicles after a spate of break-ins across Reading.

It is believed dozens of private hire taxis, parked outside drivers' homes, have been targeted by thieves in the Whitley, Oxford Road and Southcote areas across a two week period.

One firm says it is costing them business.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Drivers are now being told to make sure all money and valuable items are removed.

Driver Gulkhan Kazmi was forced to take an unexpected break when, two weeks ago, he woke up to find his car windows had been smashed overnight.

They left it a mess and stole his bag of loose change.

It's not just the money, it's the headache it gives you, the stress you go through.

"Every morning I come out and look at the car to check it's okay. Now, as I sleep, I worry about whether someone is going to smash the window."

– Gulkhan Kazmi, Taxi Driver
Credit: ITV News Meridian

At Capital Cars in Reading, they have had at least one driver hit every day for the past fortnight.

Every time it happens, there is an insurance excess to pay, plus the cost of anything stolen.

It can also put the car out of action for at least a day, sometimes two, meaning the driver cannot work.

It's just causing havoc. It's all round as we have to let the customers down because we can't do the jobs. We're having to phone them and cancel jobs because we haven't got enough cars out to cover it on the road. It's just an all round effect on everything."

– Kelly Stevens, Capital Cars
Credit: ITV News Meridian

A number of other firms in the town say they too have been affected.

They are now advising drivers to take all valuables, and change, out of the car at the end of their shift.