A WIGAN woman has told of her horror after she took a ride in a bogus taxi.
Police and council licensing bosses are investigating after Lesley Grice, from Abram, was picked up after ordering a cab from her regular firm, Street Cars.
Mrs Grice often uses the company twice a day, as her car has had engine problems and is unreliable.
Initially, the driver will pick up her daughter in the morning, before returning for Mrs Grice later in the day to take her to work in St Helens.
She said: “I just did what I normally do, but I was on the phone to my son when my taxi arrived, so was slightly distracted.
“I got into the cab and he drove off, and I just assumed he knew my destination.
“But he then got on the East Lancs and headed towards Manchester, so I asked him where he was going.”
The man responded with a series of grunts before turning round, and heading in what seemed like the right direction.
However, Mrs Grice realised something wasn’t right.
Meanwhile, the taxi which was actually meant to pick her up had arrived at her house and became concerned when no one answered the door.
Geoff Cunliffe, of Street Cars, said: “Our driver turned up and thought it was unusual that Mrs Grice wasn’t answering.
“We called the number she had booked it with, but that went through to her husband, who rang her immediately.”
Upon receiving the call, Mrs Grice realised something was wrong and asked the driver to pull over.
At first he was reluctant, before eventually agreeing.
Mrs Grice added: “I was horrified to be honest.
“In the grand scheme of things, I suppose I’m lucky because anything could have happened, but you just don’t expect this to happen to you until it does.
“I’m just sending out a message to anyone who gets into a taxi to check that it is a real cab before they get inside. I realised too late that nothing inside the car looked official.”
Mr Cunliffe, of Street Cars, is the secretary of the Wigan Borough Taxi and Private Hire Association, and is now calling for all private hire taxi companies in the town to have their logos painted across their cars.
He said: “It’s so dangerous, especially on nights out in town when people don’t even think to look what they’re getting in.”
The man driving the bogus taxi is described as around 6ft tall with dark hair, wearing a hat. He was driving a white Peugeot saloon.