Hunt for taxi driver after Hull ferry port sex assault
A HUNT has been launched for a motorist who sexually assaulted a woman after she called for a taxi at Hull’s ferry port.
Detectives are investigating the possibility that the woman was attacked by a bogus taxi driver in an unlicensed cab.
After she was attacked by the man, the 24-year-old woman pleaded for help from a member of the public when she got out of the car in Hedon Road, east Hull.
She told how she had been sexually assaulted by the driver after being picked up at the King George Dock ferry terminal at tea-time on a busy Friday afternoon.
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The woman, who had been heading to her own car parked in the street when she was stopped by the victim, said: “She was really upset and said she had been sexually assaulted by the driver.
“I stayed with her and called the police.”
Police are appealing for anyone with information about the attack, which took place between 5pm and 5.40pm on November 30, to come forward.
A spokesman for Humberside Police said: “We are investigating an alleged sexual assault on a woman by a taxi driver.
“The inquiry is ongoing and, at this time, it has not been established whether the vehicle involved was a legitimate taxi or not.
“Officers are investigating the allegations to establish the exact circumstances.”
As the woman recovers from her ordeal after giving her statement to specially trained officers, police are warning people to ensure they only use legitimate taxis.
As the Christmas party season gets under way, Humberside Police is joining forces with Hull City Council to launch a campaign highlighting the potential dangers of unlicensed cabs and providing information about how to get home safely.
Councillor John Hewitt, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and communities, said: “People never imagine that sort of thing could happen to them, but if they take an unlicensed taxi they could end up in bother.
“Unfortunately, there are rogue operators who will try to take advantage of Christmas partygoers.
“Not only are these people putting public safety at risk, they are depriving licensed, law-abiding drivers of their living.
“If people use unlicensed drivers and vehicles they put themselves in danger.”
Posters and cards have been placed in pubs and clubs across the city with information about how to ensure a taxi is legitimate as part of the “Hail It! Book It! Avoid It!” campaign.
The posters also have a Quick Response code that smartphone users can scan to be directed to a list of licensed taxis in the city.
Officers say people should only use black cabs or pre-booked private hire cars.
Mr Hewitt said: “The problem we have is people go out drinking and they might forget to think about the checks they should do.
“We find people order a taxi and then get in the first car that pulls up, automatically thinking it is theirs and without checking to see if it is licensed.
“If people believed they have been approached by a bogus taxi, they should report it immediately to the police or street marshals.
“Our licensing team will be keeping an eye on things, but we need members of the public to be vigilant and this campaign is all about warning them.
“We want people to go out this Christmas and enjoy themselves.
“It is a time to be jolly and merry but we want people to make sure they are safe.”
Sergeant Ian Goode, Humberside Police’s licensing officer in Hull, said: “We want people to think safe and be safe.
“We advise people to travel home with friends where possible, and if a taxi doesn’t have the correct signage and looks suspicious, don’t get in it.
“Try to get the vehicle registration number and report it to the police straight away.”
Anyone with information about the sexual assault should call police on 101. Visit www.hullcc.gov.uk/taxi or call 01482 300300 for more on taxi safety.