Sex attack: Fears rogue driver targeting women

It is feared that a fake private hire driver could be operating. Picture: Ian Georgeson
It is feared that a fake private hire driver could be operating. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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FEARS of a “rogue” driver targeting revellers in the city centre have been raised as the hunt continues for a bogus cabbie who sexually assaulted a woman.

The Evening News has learned that a woman waiting outside a nightclub for a Capital Cars private hire cab late last Friday was approached by a man in a vehicle who told her he was her driver.

But she refused to get in after becoming aware that the car’s appearance and number plate did not match identification details sent to her by text after she made her booking.

It is understood the approach took place the night before a 31-year-old woman was assaulted after being picked up in Candlemaker Row, next to the Greyfriars Bobby statue.

Police inquiries into the attack – which occurred in a lay-by just past Hillend Ski Slope and close to Boghall Farm in the early hours of Sunday morning – are still ongoing.

Bosses at Capital Cars, one of Edinburgh’s biggest private hire firms, confirmed they had sent out a broadcast, asking staff to be alert to anything suspicious.

And they have stressed using private hire is safe as long as members of the public pre-book and make sure they check information supplied by the firm before entering a vehicle.

Stephen Hill, general manager at Capital, said: “It looks like there was a rogue – a non-registered person pretending to be a private hire driver.

“We’ve put a broadcast out telling drivers to keep a look-out for anything that looks dodgy – drivers could be 
outside clubs and see things they just do not think are right.”

Mr Hill stressed every driver and vehicle registered with his firm was subject to strict checks and examinations before being allowed out on the road.

He said: “Every single driver must be pre-booked. We can always tell where all the cars are at a certain time. We are very rigorous. Absolutely everything is traceable, from the [driver’s] maximum speed to the road.

“Any car needs to have a compliance certificate before it can be registered, which is even more rigorous than an MOT.

“If [members of the public] stick to the pre-booking system, either through our app or by phoning, they will get a legitimate driver, who will have had Disclosure Scotland checks done on them.”

He added: “People using that system will have the registration of the vehicle sent to their phone. All these things add up to a safe journey.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Inquiries into the incident are ongoing.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com