Knife-wielding robber threatened to kill taxi driver

Beech Street in Accrington. Picture from Google Maps.

A TAXI driver was threatened by a knife-wielding robber in a frightening early morning attack, police said.

Detectives have issued a witness appeal following the armed robbery, which happened in Beech Street, Accrington.

Police said a taxi was called to Beech Street at 4.30am on Saturday, and when the 56-year-old driver arrived, he was threatened by a man carrying a six-inch kitchen knife.

The man is believed to have threatened the driver with the knife and said he would kill him if he didn’t hand over all his money, officers said.

As the victim tried to shut the driver door of his grey Vauxhall Vectra, the attacker leaned in to the car and tried to pull the keys from the ignition. Police said the key snapped and the attacker ran away empty-handed.

DI Mark Haworth-Oates said: “This was a terrifying incident for the driver, who was going about work. He has clearly been shaken up by the ordeal but he’s fortunate to have not suffered any serious injury.

“I would ask anyone who ordered a taxi to Beech Street at that time or if you were in the area and saw anything to get in contact with police immediately.”

The armed robber is described as a white man, 25 years old, 5ft 8in tall, wearing a dark-coloured hooded top and dark tracksuit bottoms. He was said to be clean-shaven.

DI Haworth-Oates said police are examining CCTV footage from the area and have made door-to-door enquiries.

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said: “It’s unusual to get knife or gun crime in this area. By and large, Hyndburn is quite a safe place, but there are people who have no concern for the safety of others at all and are willing to commit atrocious acts.

“People like this need to be pursued by the police and apprehended. It’s a despicable act.

“It’s very worrying for taxi drivers, who do a lonely job.”

Barnfield ward councillor June Harrison said: “It’s appalling. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. There’s no words for it really. It’s disgusting. This was somebody just trying to do their job and he’s getting attacked.”

“It’s bad enough him being shaken up, but I’m just glad he wasn’t injured and they didn’t get any money.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting reference LC-20160305-0218.