Thugs attacked police and taxis with fireworks on a west London estate.
A shocking video shows more than 20 rockets flying at a police van as it travels through the Lisson Grove Estate, with some ricocheting off blocks of flats and parked cars.
The attack on Guy Fawkes night triggered a warning from the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association that members should avoid accepting fares to the area near Marylebone station.
One driver, Robbie McKnight, claimed to have been targeted by a mob of “up to 20 youths” on November 5. The 53-year-old said his car was pelted with “large objects” causing £5,000 worth of damage before the gang tried to block him in with a steel bin.
“I just ducked down and put the pedal to the floor — I thought ‘they’re not trapping me here’. If I had stopped, I might not be here now. It was like a war zone,” Mr McKnight told the Taxi trade newspaper. Another driver, Ross Livingstone, said he was one of four targeted on the night.
“They threw a heavy traffic cone at my cab,” he said. “The guy in front of me had the window of his [taxi] smashed and was very shaken up. It’s horrendous. Someone is going to get killed if something isn’t done.”
The LTDA warned its drivers to keep doors locked and not accept fares ending near the estate. It added that it had “become notorious for taxi drivers” with a series of attacks by robbers who hail them before stealing their valuables. The Met said officers were able to disperse the gang in Lisson Grove shortly before 7pm on November 5.
Chief Inspector Andy Brittain, of Westminster borough, said: “Officers were called to Lisson Grove to reports of a large group of teenagers throwing fireworks at vehicles, throwing rubbish bins and damaging parked cars.
“The responding officers also had fireworks thrown at them before they dispersed the group. One of the responding officers sustained an injury to his hand. We are currently in the process of reviewing CCTV and body-worn video footage to identify those involved. While we believe this is an isolated incident, patrols in the area have been increased to provide reassurance to local communities.”
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA, said his members had first started having problems on the estate two to three years ago, and that it had resurfaced in the last six months. “My advice to our members is don’t risk it. Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously hurt or worse.”