Teens recruited to spy on taxi drivers to root out potential sex abusers


Teens recruited to spy on taxi drivers to root out potential sex abusers

Young people in Rochdale have been recruited by local licence officials to report "inappropriate behaviour" from taxi drivers in the area.

The "mystery shoppers" are part of a crackdown by Rochdale council on cab drivers and takeaway workers in the town following the conviction of nine men last year for offences including rape and sexual activity with a child.

Two of the nine men convicted of exploiting girls as young as 13, who were often plied with drink and drugs before being passed around for sex, were taxi drivers, while another two worked in a takeaway.

Rochdale council was quick to stress that the exercise was not aimed at "entrapping" taxi drivers but to ensure all were complying with their licences.

It is also believed that the young volunteers had been recruited from outside of the Rochdale area to ensure there are no recriminations for their participation in the scheme.

According to the Telegraph, the intelligence-gathering youngsters will pass on any concerns to the licensing authority who will work with the police on any further action.

Colin Lambert, Rochdale council leader, said: "All aspects of the safety of adults and children will be explored within the borough and that includes ensuring the safety of those who use private hire or licensed taxis, food outlets or other premises."

Similar exercises using teenagers are employed by various local councils to tackle the problem of off-licences selling cigarettes and alcohol to underage children.