MINICAB drivers are calling for action to stop gangs of youths pelting their cars with stones.
Cabbies are now wary of driving through some areas of Stoke-on-Trent where they have repeatedly become targets for yobs.
In the latest attack, Zaffar Gondar has been left £300 out of pocket after a nine-year-old boy smashed his rear windscreen in Saracen Way, Meir.
The Autocabs driver was on his way to a job when he heard a loud bang from the force of the rubble hitting his car at 9pm on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old, of Chaplin Road, Normacot, said: “I knew it had come from a gang of around 12 children and I managed to get a picture on my mobile phone of the one who threw the stone and I called the police.”
Officers were able to identify the boy before visiting his home but because he is below the age of criminal responsibility he was only given a telling off.
Now Asmann Ulhaq, who runs Longton-based Autocabs, has criticised the police for not getting tougher on troublemakers who could potentially cause a fatal accident.
The 42-year-old, of Lightwood, said: “I understand this particular lad was underage. But why does that mean there are no consequences if he’s smashed in a windscreen?
“Surely the parents should at least be held responsible. Zaffar has lost two days work, there’s a £60 excess for his insurance and the cost of clearing out the glass.
“And what if Zaffar had passengers in the back of his car? They can’t keep getting away with it because someone’s going to get seriously hurt.”
Mr Ulhaq said hotspots for incidents included Dividy Road, Bentilee, Werrington Road, Bucknall, and Meir Square.
He “There’s an incident like this every week and it’s all minicabs across the city. Luckily I’ve only ever been hit by eggs but it’s very alarming when it happens.”
Banaras Hussain, of Longton, manager of Ace Private Hire, agreed the number of attacks seemed to be on the rise.
He said: “This goes on all the time during the holidays. Kids think it’s funny to stand on street corners and aim bricks, eggs or whatever at cars.
They rarely get caught and the drivers end up out of pocket.”
Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Hackney Carriage Association, said he was told about incidents at least once a fortnight.
The 49-year-old, of Shelton, added: “It has been going on for some time now. The children are targeting minicabs and buses. If it happens the drivers communicate with each other to tell them to avoid a certain area.
“It’s obviously very dangerous and something needs to be done before there is a serious accident.”
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “Police were called to a report of a minicab being damaged by stones being thrown in Saracen Way, Meir.
“Officers attended and following inquiries a nine-year-old boy was spoken to regarding the incident. Due to his age, he was given a warning about his behaviour and his were parents made aware. Local patrols are aware of the incident and the minicab company have been updated.”
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