VIOLENT attacks against taxi drivers are on the rise, according to one owner.

Blue Line owner Pete Tingey spoke out after one of his driver's was allegedly punched several times in the back of the head by a passenger, in an incident two weeks ago.

Pete has now raised the matter with a liason group for the drivers which meets with Barnsley Council.

He said: "We heard of one lady driver who had two incidents over the last 12 months, one involving a hammer and one a penknife.

"We are up against all sorts of tricks as well - like passengers saying they are just going into the house to get money, and then disappearing."

Mr Tingey said attacks against drivers used to be extremely rare in the Barnsley area but were now increasing to an alarming level.

"It used to be mainly alcohol related but now it can be drugs, domestic abuse - where couples are fighting in the back of a cab - racist fights or any number of things."

Barnsley drivers are discussing ways forward such as installing CCTV at taxi ranks.

"At ranks, you can see bullies forcing their way through to the front of the queue and often punching anyone who gets in the way," he said.