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Vandals could drive taxi owner out of businesss

Deep scratches in the side of Acorn Taxis' Toyota Photo: Saleem Ashraf

Deep scratches in the side of Acorn Taxis' Toyota Photo: Saleem Ashraf

Saleem Ashraf

A taxi owner claims attacks on his vehicle are driving him out of business.

Scratches were also made across the bonnet, while the car was parked in Thetford Photo: Saleem AshrafScratches were also made across the bonnet, while the car was parked in Thetford Photo: Saleem Ashraf

Saleem Ashraf, 29, who runs Thetford-based Acorn Taxis, had to spend almost £1,000 on repairs and lost hundreds more in earnings from passengers after his car was damaged in December.

The body work of the blue Toyota Avensis was deeply scratched by a sharp object such as a key on both sides and across the top of its bonnet, while it was parked outside its owner's house.

On Friday, the car was attacked again in broad daylight while it was parked on the town's Market Place.

This time, just the driver's door was scratched with a sharp object, causing damage which will cost around £200 to repair.

Damage caused to the car in a second attack last week  Picture: Saleem AshrafDamage caused to the car in a second attack last week Picture: Saleem Ashraf

Mr Ashraf believes that the vandal may have been disturbed by a passer-by before they had time to scratch the rest of the car.

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"I keep asking myself what have I done to deserve that as I have been just trying to make a living," said Mr Ashraf, who launched Acorn in April, 2018 and now employs a second driver.

"It made me very worried about safety of my myself and my family and to continuously keep looking over my shoulder.

"I have been seriously thinking to pack up and go away and I don't think that my business would be able to financially sustain another damage."
No one was questioned or convicted over the first attack of vandalism.

But Mr Ashraf said CCTV was available of the second, which happened around 2pm on Friday, which the police can examine.

Mr Ashraf added: "Authorities should take these more seriously, I fully appreciate that they are already very busy and stretched.

"But I think these 'minor' crimes can lead to more serious crimes as the criminals know they can easily get away."

A police spokesman confirmed that officers were investigating the damage. No arrests have so far been made over the attacks.

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