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Croydon minicab driver lured to dead-end street and robbed at gunpoint

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A MINICAB driver has described how he was lured into a trap and threatened by a gunman who demanded: "Give me the money".

Rafaqat Ali was booked to take someone called Alex from Lindfield Road, in Addiscombe, to East Croydon Station shortly after midnight on Monday.

When he parked up, a man knocked on his window. "He told me his name was Alex so I opened the door and he got into the front passenger seat," said Mr Ali.

"He said his friend was going to pay and a few seconds later another man tapped on my window.

"I wound it down and he asked how much the fare would be. I said £5 and he reacted angrily, claiming it used to be £3.

"As I said 'maybe in 1983' he pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. He said 'give me the money, give me the money'.

"I didn't know whether the gun was real or not but I didn't want to stick around to find out, so I got the hell out of there."

Mr Ali, 41, put his foot on the accelerator and sped off up the road – with "Alex" still sitting beside him.

He said: "He didn't threaten me. He was probably scared because I drove like a crazy man."

When Mr Alireached the end of the cul-de-sac, he told his "passenger" to get out.

"He was saying 'boss, boss, I'm still in here'. I shouted at him to leave and he got out. Then I turned the car around and drove away as quickly as I could."

Mr Ali, who works for South End-based Circuit Cars, called the cab office to explain what had happened and reported the incident to the police.

His vehicle has since been taken away for forensic examination and on Monday, he was asked to attend the custody centre at Windmill Road to go through mugshots.

He describes the first man, who identified himself as Alex, as black, 5ft 7in and in his early 20s. The second man was white and a similar age and height.

The former security guard, who lives in Croydon and has been a minicab driver for six months, said he will go back to work once his car has been returned.

He said: "Nothing like this has happened to me before, but the other drivers have spoken about being threatened and abused.

"It's a dangerous job but I'm not going to quit. I have to put food on the table."

Mr Ali added: "I'm convinced it was a trap. Who pulls a gun on someone because they want to pay £3 not £5?

"They called a cab to that street because it's a dead end and it's hard to get away."

Police confirmed detectives were investigating and urged anyone with information to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Croydon minicab driver lured to dead-end street and robbed at gunpoint


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