8:00am Monday 10th June 2013
By Dale Haslam
THUGS viciously attacked and robbed a taxi driver and left him for dead in the street.
Police have launched a major investigation to find the yobs who assaulted the 29-year-old victim in Vernon Street, Farnworth, at just after 11pm on Friday (June 7).
Horrified witnesses raced to the victim’s aid and helped save his life by calling paramedics.
Now, detectives are urging other witnesses to get in touch so they can find those responsible for “a horrific assault on a man just earning a living”.
The victim, who has asked not to be named in fear of reprisals, said he has been left a “nervous wreck” by the sickening attack, while his supportive colleagues have said he might never find the courage to return to the job.
The driver, from Deane, works for Metro Taxis, which is based in Tonge Moor and gives work to more than 500 drivers.
The popular family man had just returned from holiday and began his shift in his silver Vauxhall Zafira at 3pm on Friday (June 7).
At just before 10.30pm he picked up customers in Bolton town centre.
He took the passengers to Vernon Street and they got out of the car and left.
But two people from a group stood close to where the taxi driver had dropped off his passengers ran over to him and one repeatedly punched him in the face.
A second thug smashed a bottle over the back of his head.
They then took his takings and left him lying on the ground, with blood gushing from his head wound.
It is believed another taxi driver passed the scene and called 999 along with other witnesses.
Paramedics treated the man at the scene and he was taken to Royal Bolton Hospital where he received treatment for serious facial and head injuries.
He was given several stitches and doctors bandaged a gash on his face.
The driver said: “It was such a terrible thing to happen and so unexpected.
“It has left me a nervous wreck and it’s going to take me some time to get over. I just want the police to catch whoever did it.”
Det Sgt Denise Pye, of Bolton CID, added: “This is nasty crime — an horrific assault on a man just earning a living.”
Jimmy Chadat, of Metro Taxis, said: “The driver has been severely shaken by what has happened and we’ve said to take as much time off work as he needs, but whether he feels able to come back at all, I don’t know.
“We have told him to take some time out with his family and to take his mind of it and, most importantly, to get better.”
Mr Chadat added: “When the assault took place, the driver was outside the car and so he was unable to press the emergency response button.
“These incidents are extremely rare for our drivers, and the driver has told us that those responsible were drunk and were part of a group that were drinking in the street.
“Occasionally, you get the odd fare jumper, but something like this completely different.”
Police have arrested two men who have been bailed pending further enquires.
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