Pendle councillors Paul White and Joe Cooney have spoken out against the deplorable and irresponsible behaviour in Colne town centre during the early hours of Sunday.
A late-night dispute erupted at the taxi rank next to the precinct which ended with a taxi driver in hospital and an impromptu strike by taxi firms leaving revellers on the streets with no means of getting home. The councillors were both caught up in the strike action.
It is thought taxi businesses in Colne decided on the strike after a driver was beaten up that evening, believing striking would put pressure on the police to find the culprits quicker. Reports suggest a man attacked a taxi driver, and when other taxi drivers joined their colleague a larger group of onlookers also joined in, leading to a street brawl which saw one man treated in Airedale General Hospital.
Boulsworth Ward Coun. White said of the strike: “While violence towards any taxi driver is absolutely unacceptable, and I would think the majority of the population would think that too, a knee-jerk strike left residents of our area who were enjoying the Colne nightlife in danger when they had not been involved in the incident at all. People were left without the opportunity to make alternative plans, meaning they had to walk home which is dangerous as you don’t know who might be around at that time. The taxi firms let down their loyal customers, many of who use the taxis week on week. By the same token, no member of the public should be abusing drivers in any way whatsoever, these people are providing a valuable service to our area.”
Vivary Bridge Coun.Cooney added: “It was not only unsafe to leave people to make their own way home, but it left a large number of people on the streets of Colne at closing time which could have lead to further disorder. Striking with no notice was highly irresponsible and could not have achieved anything. I am quite sure the police were doing their best to find the offenders, and the actions of the taxi businesses did nothing to help the situation.”