Police officers have made three arrests after a series of incidents where an unknown substance has been sprayed or thrown at taxi drivers before attempting to make off with the cabbies' cash.
Hertfordshire Constabulary are aware of at least four incidents where cabbies have been targeted in the Watford area within the last fortnight.
According to police sources, on Monday 21 September a taxi driver stopped in Harris Road to drop off his passenger. The passenger then sprayed an unknown substance in the driver’s face before taking a quantity of cash and making off.
Five days later on Saturday 26 September a man got into a taxi in Gullet Wood Road and demanded cash. He poured an unknown substance on the driver before making off with cash.
Two days later on Monday 28 September, offenders forced entry into a taxi in Orbital Crescent and demanded money. They squirted an unknown substance at the driver before making off. Nothing was taken.
And finally yesterday an offender attempted to rob a taxi driver in Rushton Avenue. He threw an unknown liquid in the driver’s face. The victim drove off and nothing was taken.
A 40-year-old man from Watford and a 19-year-old man from Stevenage, who were both arrested on suspicion of robbery, have been bailed until Tuesday 27 October while the investigation continues.
A 15-year-old boy from Watford has been arrested on suspicion of robbery and remains in police custody at this time.
Watford Chief Inspector Ian Grout said: “This would have been a frightening ordeal for the victims and I know that these incidents have caused concern among Watford’s taxi driving community.
“Due to the unknown liquid being thrown at the drivers they were taken to hospital as a precaution and thankfully did not suffer any injuries. Our enquiries will include working to establish what that liquid was.
“We have arrested and bailed two people while we continue our investigation and I would like to reassure the public that they are subject to strict conditions during this time. A third person is currently in our custody.”
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said: “My thoughts are with those who have had to endure what must have been a deeply frightening ordeal and I wish them a very speedy recovery. People should be able to go about their daily business free from any fear of violence or loss of their livelihood.
“I am pleased our local police have been able to act swiftly and trust our taxi community feel reassured by their response. Watford is not a place that tolerates criminal activity and we work closely with our police to keep our town safe for everyone.”