- Minicab firm Car 2000 says customers are asking for white or 'local' drivers
- Firm bought out Eagle Taxis which was at the centre of grooming scandal
- Two drivers of Pakistani origin were jailed for part in sex trafficking & rape
- Labour MP Simon Danczuk has branded development 'extremely worrying'
Rochdale minicab firm Car 2000 is offering the choice after two taxi drivers of Pakistani origin were jailed for their part in the sex trafficking and rape of young white girls in the town.
The firm, which bought out Eagle Taxis - a company at the centre of the grooming scandal, has revealed that many customers were asking for white or ‘local’ drivers, it was reported last night.
Taxi company: Rochdale minicab firm Car 2000 (pictured) is offering the choice after two taxi drivers of Pakistani origin were jailed for their part in the sex trafficking and rape of young white girls in the town
Simon Danczuk, the town’s Labour MP, branded the development ‘extremely worrying’ but the council said Car 2000 was doing nothing wrong.
The firm’s boss, Stephen Campbell, manager of Car 2000, told the Guardian: ‘We have had quite a lot of customers requesting what they call a local driver.
‘A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale. But it’s a business and we have got a duty to do what the customer asks us to.
'Wake-up call': Simon Danczuk, the town’s Labour MP, branded the development 'extremely worrying'
‘I don’t think we can discriminate against the customer in the same way. It is a business at the end of the day. We have a large bank loan to pay back.’
Mr Campbell said around 20 drivers had left Eagle Taxis after the two drivers were prosecuted.
He added: ‘One of them got a knife held to his throat, one of them had his car smashed up.’
Mr Campbell said the exodus cost him an estimated £40,000 - 30 per cent of the firm’s annual profit: ‘It was devastating.’
He said: ‘The Asian drivers are harder working, they do what they are asked and they don’t complain about it.
'If the public could actually see these [Asian] people close up and see what they are about, I don’t think they would be asking for white drivers.
‘We do get a lot of customers ringing up and asking us for a particular Asian guy as well.’
But he said customers who had asked for a white driver might have to wait as long as 20 minutes -compared with the average wait of three minutes.
Mr Danczuk said: ‘This is extremely worrying and a stark reminder of the impact grooming scandals have had on northern towns.
It must act as a wake-up call to politicians who just pretend tensions like this don’t exist and bury their heads in the sand.’
Mark Widdup, of Rochdale Council, said: ‘There is currently nothing in the conditions of their licence which state that they cannot operate such a policy, just as some firms choose to offer customers only female drivers.’