Hero Preston cabbie grabs robber’s knife to save passenger

Preston taxi driver Bashir Patel

Preston taxi driver Bashir Patel

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A heroic cabbie who grabbed a robber’s knife to protect a female passenger today spoke of his ordeal.

Hackney carriage driver Bashir Patel, 50, foiled the thug in his third attempted armed robbery in just 15 minutes.

Despite being left bleeding, the plucky father-of-three, of Kennington Drive, Fulwood, Preston, was able to show officers the direction the robber had ran away, leading to his arrest moments later.

Bungling Peter Wylie, 36, of De Lacy Street, Ashton, Preston, threatened staff at two takeaways during his crime spree, between 10.30pm and 10.45pm on January 9, but failed to get any cash.

He was jailed for three years by Judge 
 Simon Newell. Mr Patel, whose fingers were deeply cut, said: “ I just wanted to protect my passenger.

“I had got out of my cab to open her door when I saw the man, and his very large knife.

“He demanded my money and I kept saying: “What money?”

“He was standing very close to me and I knew I had a chance if I could just grab the knife from him.

“I grabbed the blade and he didn’t have time to think, he let go of it and ran away.

“I came to Preston from India 30 years ago and have worked hard ever since - if he’s so desperate for money he should do the same.”

Earlier, at 10.30pm, Wylie had walked into Domino’s Pizza, Blackpool Road, with his face covered and brandished the large knife at staff, who he ordered to “empty the tills”. Defiant employees refused.

Wylie fled the store and walked a matter of yards into Chui Kwan Chinese Takeaway where he waved the knife around, ordering a woman to empty the takings into a bag.

The worker ran to the back of the shop to get help and Wylie ran off, crossing Blackpool Road and walking on to Eldon Street, Plungington, where Mr Patel was dropping off his passenger.

Mr Patel added: “I had cut my fingers and asked the passenger to get me a cloth. As she went inside the police arrived to respond to the other robberies, which I hadn’t known about.”

Wylie pleaded guilty to three robbery offences and possession of bladed article in a hearing at Preston Crown Court.