Taxi driver’s anguish over unpaid fare and assault

Levi Santos Eastbourne Licensed Taxi Driver. February 4th 2014 E05120Q
Levi Santos Eastbourne Licensed Taxi Driver. February 4th 2014 E05120Q

A taxi driver from Eastbourne is angry over the way he claims police dealt with two passengers who he claims fled without paying him.

Levi Santos, who works night shifts, says one of the men assaulted him but the police released the duo and drove them home.

He said he was taking the pair from the pier to an address in Green Street in Old Town in the early hours of the morning when they got out at traffic lights in Cavendish Place and fled without paying.

The 33-year-old said he found the two men, aged around 18 - 20, after driving a short distance in Pevensey Road and confronted them.

He said the men then became verbally and physically aggressive and damaged his car. He claimed that one of the men grabbed him by his jacket and pushed him towards the car, leaving him with a scratch on the face and neck pain.

He said, “I went to the DGH to be checked by medical professionals.

“The police later arrived at the hospital to tell me they had released the two individuals, as apparently it was up to me to deal with the matter, it was a civil matter. They had released the two and driven them home. At the time they wanted a statement from me but I felt there was no point as they were not willing to deal with it.”

He said the police, who he says had told him there was not enough evidence to proceed with the assault matter, turned up at his home a few days later but he told them it was an inconvenient time as they were serving up dinner, with five students in the house and he had not heard anymore since then.

He added, “I have had no money for the fare or compensation for the damage to my car or attack to myself.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said, “This confrontation is alleged to have followed the men feeling insulted and alighting within moments of getting into the cab when the taxi driver asked them if they could afford the fare. Police were there to investigate if there was an assault. The officers were not there to investigate the level of service or the driver being unpaid for the short journey. This is a civil matter.”

Inspector Rachel Barrow added, “If the taxi driver is not satisfied with our response we would ask him to contact us and we will investigate.

“From a local policing perspective I am not aware of any particular increase in the targeting of taxi drivers in Eastbourne as victims of crime, indeed many more have the option to install and use CCTV inside their vehicles which is an excellent tool to help prevent and detect crime and anti-social behaviour.”