Taxi driver: “I’m not a hero - it was my duty to tackle knifeman”

Mr and Mrs Patel with Mayor of Preston Coun Nick Pomfret, and licensing manager Mike Thorpe, at the special event in the mayor's parlour

Mr and Mrs Patel with Mayor of Preston Coun Nick Pomfret, and licensing manager Mike Thorpe, at the special event in the mayor's parlour

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An heroic cabbie who grabbed a robber’s knife to protect a female passenger has been given a civic award to recognise his courage.

Hackney carriage driver Bashir Patel, 50, foiled thug Peter Wylie in his THIRD attempted armed robbery in just 15 minutes.

Despite being left bleeding, Mr Patel, of Fulwood, Preston, was able to show officers the direction the robber had run away, leading to his arrest moments later.

The father-of-three, who moved to Preston from India 30 years ago, said he was honoured to have met the Mayor of Preston, but said he didn’t think of himself as a hero.

Mr Patel said: “It’s great that the mayor invited me, I was really happy.

“I was a bit nervous because I had never been before, but I really enjoyed his company.

“I went to the Town Hall to the mayor’s parlour, he welcomed me inside and he met my wife as well.”

But Mr Patel said he was only doing his duty to protect his passenger on the day of the incident.

He said: “It was my duty, there was somebody with me, I had to protect them and that’s what I did.

“I didn’t do anything to get famous.

“I was honoured to go to the mayor’s parlour but I don’t feel like a hero - anybody could do it to protect people.

“It’s our duty, we are citizens and we are here to help each other.”

Bungling Peter Wylie, 36, of De Lacy Street, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, had threatened staff at two takeaways - Domino’s Pizza, Blackpool Road, and the nearby Chui Kwan Chinese Takeaway - during his crime spree on January 9, but failed to get any cash.

He went onto Eldon Street, Plungington, where Mr Patel was dropping off his passenger.

He eventually pleaded guilty to three robberies and possession of bladed article when he appeared at Preston Crown Court and was jailed for three years.

Mr Patel said he still remembered the events clearly, when he had taken his passenger to Eldon Street.

He said: “I was just outside her house, it was a bit dark.

“She paid me, I gave her the change and I opened the door for her so I came out from the driver’s side.

“At that point I opened the door and I saw the guy with the knife in front of me demanding money.

“I thought I had to do something.”
Mr Patel grabbed the knife and Wylie ran off, and then the taxi driver saw police.

He said: “I flagged them down and I said he’s just running, I grabbed the knife but he’s still there so they got him.

“It was lucky because the police were looking for him.”

Mayor of Preston, Coun Nick Pomfret, said: “I am honoured to have been able to welcome Mr Patel and his wife into the mayor’s parlour to thank him for his brave actions.

“Mr Patel didn’t have to do what he did, he went above and beyond his duty and put himself in danger to protect others.

“Preston is full of great people like Mr Patel and that is what makes the city so special to me.”