A taxi driver has spoken of his terrifying ordeal after he was attacked by three masked men brandishing knives in a Burton street.
The Premier Cars driver's suspicions were aroused when he went to pick up a fare at a house number in Winshill which did not exist. He waited for 15 minutes before deciding to leave, but as he turned his car around as he left the street he was jumped by three men. They were wearing Balaclavas and brandishing knives.
One of the men began hitting the car windscreen with his knife and the others then joined in, hitting the other windows with their knives.
The terrified driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, managed to stay drive away. The gang, all dressed in black, did not get any of his takings.
Soon after he got away the driver, 36, stopped to call police. The attack happened on Friday, September 29, at around 11.30pm.
The attack has left the driver feeling vulnerable and afraid to be at his taxi base in Station Street after dark. He says he also keeps replaying the attack over and over in his mind.
He even thought about not returning to work the next day, he was so upset, but says he has to earn money to support his family.
He had received a call from a girl asking for him to pick her up at 32 Durban Close, in Winshill, which he says does not exist because there are only 21 houses in the street.
The dad of three said: "I've been driving for a long time, so I know the area quite well. She kept saying she was at number 32, but the houses only go up to 21.
"Alarm bells were ringing in my head, but I just stayed there, hoping she would come out. Now I wish I would have just left straight away."
He waited on the street for around 15 minutes before deciding to cancel the job and return to the company's base.
As he drove down the road and turned around, he says he saw three men, dressed head to toe in black and wearing Balaclavas, walking towards his car and carrying knives.
He said: "They came up to my taxi and one of them started hitting the glass of the driver's window with the knife in his hand.
"He hit my window twice. I think the first hit was supposed to break the glass, and the second was for me. Luckily the glass didn't smash. I don't want to think what might have happened if he could get to me."
The driver managed to drive away, while the thugs were still hitting his taxi, leaving scratches from the knives on two of the windows.
He said that he was hoping that somebody would hear the commotion and come out of their house, scaring the men off, but no-one did.
He said: "I kept looking at the houses, hoping someone would hear what was going on and come down, but nobody did. Everyone will have been asleep at that time and it is only a small close.
"I've been a taxi driver for 10 years and I've never had anything like this. It was terrifying, but all that was going through my head was that I needed to protect myself; even if that meant I had to run them over."
He said: "I didn't really want to go back to work because I was so scared. But at the end of the day, I need to earn my money; I've got a mortgage to pay and a family to feed.
"I have stopped going to base now though. It gets dark at night and it makes me feel vulnerable. I've been parking up closer to the centre of town where there are lots of lights and cameras around. It just makes me feel safer."
The taxi driver, who lives in Burton, is now appealing to anyone who might have seen anything unusual on the evening of September 29 to get in touch with the police.
A Staffordshire Police said: "Three men wearing Balaclavas and black clothing approached the parked taxi on Durban Close and caused damage to the windows and doors using a knife. An investigation is ongoing.
"Anyone with any information should call us on 101 quoting incident 929 of September 29."
Alternatively, anyone with information can call Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.