Taxi driver left needing hospital treatment after attack by teenage gang
A police probe has been launched after a taxi driver was left needing hospital treatment when he was attacked by a gang of teenagers.
Derick Devine, 61, was picking an elderly passenger up on Essex Place, Peterlee, at around 7.40pm on Sunday when he was approached by a group of around eight teenagers.
The grandfather-of-four said teenagers aged around 14-years-old hit the front of his car deliberately with their bikes and smashed the wing mirror off the car.
When he got out of the car to retrieve it, he says he was hit in the face with a heavy object by the group, knocking him to the ground.
Mr Devine, who has been a driver for Chevron Taxis in Peterlee for around five years, suffered a cut to his eye, bust nose, injury to his cheek bone and jaw - with the injuries causing bleeding and serious bruising to his face.
He was able to press the emergency alarm button in his vehicle which called his taxi driver colleagues to the scene who were able to take Mr Devine to the Peterlee walk-in centre and to speak to the police.
His partner Jackie Schofield then took him to Sunderland Royal Hospital for treatment, but thankfully nothing was broken.
Mr Devine, a dad-of-three, has been left shaken following the attack, but said it will not stop him from doing the job he loves.
He said: "They were on bikes and used my car as a breaking system, so I told them off and got loads of abuse.
"They punched the wing mirror off and when I got out to retrieve it, they hit what seemed like a massive rod across my face."
He added: "It's just a shock and its been overwhelming,
"But nobody can intimidate me and I am not scared about going back to work.
"I love my job and I will take it as it comes."
Mr Devine, who formerly worked in the timber trade, said he plans to visit his passenger who was in the car at the time and see how she is.
Clair Hampton, 42, manager at Chevron Taxis said it had been a shock for everyone involved, but sadly it wasn't the first time such an attack had happened to one of their drivers.
She said: "We are all deeply shocked, but this is not the first attack we have had.
"Derick is one of our nicest drivers and is such a lovely lad."
Durham Constabulary have launched an appeal for anyone with information to come forward.
A spokeswoman for the force said: "Officers are appealing for information after a taxi driver was assaulted in Peterlee.
"The 61-year-old man was parked on Essex Place at around 7.40pm last night when a group of teenagers approached his vehicle.
"He then got out of the vehicle and was assaulted by the group before being hit in the face by an unknown object.
"The group knocked the vehicle’s wing mirror off before leaving.
"Police are appealing for anyone with any information on the incident to come forward."
Anyone with information is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 387 of November 25.