A MAN has been jailed for four years after he was convicted of attempting to rob a taxi driver of his mobile phone.
Martin Roberts, 29, was tracked by a police dog from the scene of the incident at the Plas Madoc Estate to his home nearby.
Judge Niclas Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court, told him that taxi drivers were vulnerable, easy targets.
“They, and the public they serve, expect the courts to protect them,” the judge said.
Roberts, of Hampden Way in Acrefair, was also convicted of stealing the victim’s sat-nav, and assaulting him by punching him in the mouth.
The judge said it was a sustained attack in which violence had been used.
But he took into account there was no weapon.
David Mainstone, prosecuting, told how the attempted robbery occurred late on October 15 last year when the defendant took a taxi ride from Ruabon.
He paid the £5 fare but as he got out, he snatched the victim’s sat-nav and threatened to smash it unless he handed the £5 back.
The victim agreed – instantly deciding he would rather lose £5 than his expensive sat-nav.
But as he put his hand in his shirt pocket to get the note, the defendant entered the taxi again and grabbed at his mobile phone.
There was a struggle during which the driver bit Roberts on the finger to stop him taking the phone.
Police were called, they were at the scene in minutes and a police dog was able to track the defendant to his home.
Henry Hills, defending, told the jury his client had not tried to rob the driver.
Roberts accused the driver of trying to over-charge him and said he returned the £5 to him when he threatened to report him to the taxi office.
He denied taking the sat-nav and said he had not seen the mobile phone – but struck him when the taxi driver bit his finger.