Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'You Just Go Home and Want to Bang Your Head against the Wall' Figures Show We're Fleeing Cabs, Restaurants and Filling Stations without Paying What We Owe

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'You Just Go Home and Want to Bang Your Head against the Wall' Figures Show We're Fleeing Cabs, Restaurants and Filling Stations without Paying What We Owe

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Meechan Reporter simon.meechan@trinitymirror.com @SimonMeechan_90

NEWCASTLE saw a huge increase in the number of people who are running away from taxis, petrol stations and restaurants without paying.

The city had a 70% jump in "making off without payment" crimes in a year, with 369 recorded in 2015-16, compared to 217 in 2014-15.

Typical examples include 'doing a runner' from a restaurant but not settling the bill, fleeing from a taxi without paying the fare and filling up petrol tanks before driving away without paying for the fuel.

The information was found through a crime data analysis.

David Singh works in Budget Taxis' office and was a cab driver for seven years.

He says drivers have no way of claiming back money if a customer runs off without paying.

David said: "You just feel so upset, your whole day is ruined. You just go home and want to bang your head against the wall. It spoils your day and can make you very bitter. We work, that's our wages, if we do not make money we can't pay bills.

"I've had a lot of people come to see me saying it upset them. It does ruin their day."

Some cabbies feel they have to ask for cash in advance for larger fares - just in case - which is something David says they would rather not do.

David added: "Sometimes you want to ask for money up front and you feel embarrassed because they think you don't trust them."

Newcastle has the highest runner rate the Northumbria Police area, with 12.6 offences per 10,000 people.

Across the rest of Northumbria's beat, the rate in Gateshead was 11 offences per 10,000 people, 9.8 in North Tyneside, 9.3 in South Tyneside, 7.9 in Sunderland and 4.5 offences per 10,000 people in Northumberland.

County Durham - served by Durham Constabulary - had a rate of 6.1 offences per 10,000. …

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