On Monday night I stopped for a fella in Bloomsbury Sq who wanted to go to Pembridge Villas. When he got in I asked if  he needed to go to an ATM and he replied, in broken English, that he did.

When we got to  Tottenham Ct Rd I stopped at the Abbey and pointed to the machine and he started to say “no I want Pembridge Villas in  Notting Hill”  so I said that he had told me he wanted a cash machine but he just kept on about going to Notting Hill. When I asked if he had any money on him he said yes and started jabbering in French ( I think ) and acting like he couldn’t understand English.

When we got to Sainsbury’s in Westbourne Grove he said to turn right into Hereford rd where he then said to stop on the left while he went to a cash machine, now talking in perfect english!  I told him that we would turn round and I would wait for him outside the ATM.  He went off to the machine and I watched as he put in 1 card and then another. He took the card back out and stood waiting for the cash but all of a sudden he was off like a greyhound after a hare!

I was half expecting it, so I shot off in the cab after him, he turned into the first left into Monmoth Rd so I stopped and saw him go into the basement of a house so I left the cab and went after him. When he saw me he was back up onto the road and had to come past me, I tried to grab him but he gave me a swerve and went past but slipped and hit the deck. As I turned to grab him he was back up on his feet and back into Westbourne Grove running like a olympic sprinter. I followed him up the road but as I am nearly 50 and he was in his early 20’s , and about 6 stone lighter , I didn’t have a chance.

So that was it £20 down and a lesson learnt, next time someone  says they want a cash machine it happens at the start of the ride or else they walk!

Seriously though, if you are in the Bloomsbury sq / New Oxford St area and happen to be hailed by an unshaven French? man in his 20’s wearing a leather jacket, which may have got torn when he hit the deck and asking to go to Pembridge Sq be on your guard as I don’t think this is the first time he has done this.

Cheers, Del Boy

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