Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Award for Taxi Driver Who Helped Nab Burglar

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Award for Taxi Driver Who Helped Nab Burglar

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE COLLINGS Reporter

ATAXI driver has won an award after reporting a cocky burglar who bragged that he "wouldn't get caught".

Paul Johnston, 31, picked up a teenager in the Washington area last month and began to casually chat with his passenger.

During the journey, the 16-yearold, who cannot be named for legal reasons, boasted he'd just carried out a burglary at Biddick Academy earlier that evening.

The confident teen claimed he "wouldn't get caught" by police.

Mr Johnston, a taxi driver of 13 years, quizzed the passenger further and then contacted his local PC to report the surprising admission.

Two males - aged 16 and 32 - were subsequently arrested on suspicion of burglary.

This week, Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt invited Mr Johnston into Northumbria Police's headquarters at Middle Engine Lane, Wallsend, to present him with an award in recognition of his role in helping to identify the offenders.

"This isn't an everyday occurrence so we thought it was important to invite Paul in and thank him personally on behalf of the Force," said Chief Supt Pitt said.

"We work very closely with door staff and taxi drivers in order to keep the public safe and tackle crime, and this is an example of the benefits of that strong relationship.

"It would have been easy for Paul to overlook the passenger's claims, but his willingness to do the right thing and inform police has led to a crime being solved that may have otherwise gone undetected.

"We are incredibly thankful to Paul for his support and a commendation was the least he deserved after going above and beyond."

Police were made aware of a suspected burglary which occurred between 5.23pm and 5.30pm on January 15 at Biddick Academy, in Washington.

Offenders gained access to the school site and stole a quantity of hot chocolate, coffee and sandwiches before making off. …

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