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‘TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE’: Knife-wielding taxi robber jailed for seven years

Image credit: Cleveland Police

A man was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison for a ‘terrifying’ knife-point robbery on a taxi driver and multiple drug offences.

During an incident in January 2022, Ben Earl, 36, from Stockton, ordered a local taxi and, when asked to pay the £7 fare, brandished a knife and sprayed an unknown liquid into the driver’s face.

He forcibly took a bag containing the driver's change and stole £150 from the victim's pocket before fleeing. The driver was hospitalised with eye injuries and a cut to his hand, deeply shaken by the assault.

Following his arrest, Earl was charged with robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, to which he pleaded guilty on 28 February.

Earl's criminal activities did not end there. In February this year, Stockton’s Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) stopped a suspicious vehicle on Rosslare Road. A subsequent search led to the discovery of a substantial quantity of Class A drugs, cash, and a lock knife. The joint effort by Stockton NPT and CID culminated in Earl’s arrest and charges for drug possession with intent to supply, possession of criminal property, and possession of a bladed article.

On 11 March, Earl admitted to all charges. He appeared at Teesside Crown Court on 14 June, where he received a combined sentence for his offences.

Investigating officer DC Rusby said: “The victim has been a taxi driver for more than 20 years and was put through a terrifying experience. He has shown a great deal of courage to report the incident to police and attend court.

“I hope that the victim and members of the public can take some comfort knowing that this dangerous offender is going to serve a significant prison sentence.”


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