Armed robbers pose as fares to ambush cabbies

Cab drivers have had their car keys and takings stolen
Cab drivers have had their car keys and takings stolen
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CAB drivers have been ambushed by knife-wielding thugs after being called to fake fares in Edinburgh.

Police are probing the attacks, the most recent of which happened this week, and saw the driver’s takings snatched by three thugs.

The driver had been called to a pick-up in Stenhouse to be met by the men, one of whom punched him in the head and snatched his car keys. The robbery, at 8.30pm, follows an almost identical incident in the same area eight weeks ago.

concerned private hire bosses estimate there had been as many as six similar incidents in the past two months.

In both of the Stenhouse attacks, drivers from Edinburgh City Private Hire were targeted. Director of the company Kevin Woodburn, who is also the chairman of Edinburgh’s Private Hire Association, said his member of staff had been left “very shaken”. He said: “These types of incidents are few and far between. however, they are extremely serious when they occur.

“The drivers themselves do not carry much cash as most of our work is contract work from regular customers. However, the police are investigating this incident and I’m sure will have the culprits very quickly.”

Another private hire boss, who asked not to be named so as not to highlight his company, said he had heard of four or five incidents in the past two months.

Pc Marion Fraser, from the violent crime unit, said police at this stage were “in no way, shape or form” linking the two Stenhouse incidents, but said officers were investigating.

On the most recent attack, she said: “We know they called a fare, [the driver] attended and he’s then been approached by the three men pretending to be customers. All three got in the taxi, but then one got out pretending to wait for another friend, but he went round to the front door brandishing the weapon. The driver was absolutely terrified.

“They took about £50 and his car keys off him. After they got the cash, one of them punched him in the back of the head. He has been left very traumatised.”

The incident on Thursday, in Stenhouse Drive, involved a grey Skoda Octavia hire car. All three men made off towards Broomhouse after the robbery.

The first suspect is described as white, 25 years old, 5ft 8in, light brown, short, untidy hair, medium build, and wearing a black jacket with diagonal frontal zips, a blue hooded top and blue jeans.

The second man is described as white, around 20 years old, 5ft 7in, and medium build. The third man is only described as being of similar height and wearing a yellow tracksuit.

In the previous reported incident, a 53-year-old had gone to Stenhouse Place East, at about 4.15pm on November 20, where he picked two men who directed him to Ford’s Road.

One pulled a knife and demanded cash, before the vehicle stopped in the car park in Ford’s Road, near Saughton Park. Both suspects got into the black 54-plate Volkswagen Passat and drove off. The car was found in Calder Gardens.