Castleford taxi company announces plans to boycott areas of town after passenger injured in attack on car
A Castleford taxi company has announced it will no longer work in certain areas of the town, following an attack on a taxi which saw a passenger taken to hospital with injuries.
Drivers at Cas Cars say they have faced years of abuse while working in Airedale and Ferry Fryston, with groups of teenagers frequently throwing stones and bricks at their cars as they pass through the area.
But the final straw came last Thursday, when taxi passenger Josh Couper was taken to hospital with injuries to his arm after being hit by a stone thrown by a pedestrian.
Josh, 19, said: “We were travelling up Queen’s Park Drive and all of a sudden a rock came through the window.
“I was in shock, it took me a couple of seconds to think what had happened.
“I couldn’t take it in until it had blown over a bit.
“They are very lucky that it was just the top of my arm towards my shoulder. If it was the head it could have resulted in a concussion or something more serious.”
Josh was taken to A&E, where staff confirmed that his injuries were not serious.
But for staff at Cas Cars, the incident was a turning point.
Owner Shukran Riaz says that taxi drivers, as well as other motorists, have faced frequent attacks on Fryston Road, Kendal Drive and Queen’s Park Drive for several years.
He said: “Drivers are scared to go up there. They have to keep an eye on the kids to make sure there’s nothing in their hands.
“They just have to be prepared. Because the kids are getting away with it constantly.
“They do it to taxis, buses, the general public. If they can’t find stones they throw whatever they can at the cars.
“You’re driving normally, the passengers are sat chatting away and the next moment there’s a loud bang and something shatters.
“This was just a small stone, it didn’t do as much damage. But taxis can be carrying anyone from a newborn baby to an elderly person in their 90s.
“It could be anyone sat there when a stone comes through and hits them. Luckily enough this passenger wasn’t seriously injured, he was very lucky but it doesn't mean he wasn’t hurt.
“It’s getting to a point where we have to do something.”
As a result of the attack, Mr Riaz says Cas Cars will restrict the hours in which they serve certain areas of the town to avoid further damage.
Mr Riaz wants more to be done to target anti-social behaviour in Airedale, and says police should take reports of attacks more seriously.
A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police confirmed they were aware of the attack on Thursday evening, but said they were not aware of any injuries sustained in the incident.
Police Sergeant Karl Miller, of the Castleford Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “It is concerning to hear of the worries of this local business owner and I would urge him to discuss these further with the neighbourhood policing team. In the meantime, we have stepped up reassurance patrols in the area.
“He has alluded to a number of other incidents; however we have not had any other reports of this nature in recent months. I would encourage people to report incidents like this and other anti-social behaviour to us so that we can investigate and focus our patrols.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call West Yorkshire Police on 101. Information can also be given anonymously to the independent charity CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.