CARJACKERS were chased by police for eight miles at high-speed after they attacked a cabbie and stole his taxi.
The terrified Hudsons Taxis driver grabbed his takings and dived out of his seat in Barnes Court, in the King Oswy area of Hartlepool, after being sprayed in the face with an unknown substance.
Police were quickly in pursuit of the thieves as the 41-year-old dialled 999 at the side of the road after watching his yellow taxi speed off.
Officers quickly tracked them down to Station Town using the taxi’s navigation system, before chasing the Skoda Octavia for eight miles back to Hartlepool.
At one point the rogue vehicle even raced on the wrong side of a busy road.
The car eventually came to a standstill in Hindpool Close, on the town’s Central Estate, after speeding around residential streets with patrol cars in close pursuit.
At one point the taxi was driven the wrong way along Easington Road.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
The taxi driver, who was taken to hospital to be checked over after his ordeal, was said to be too shaken to speak to the Mail.
The drama was said to have started when the driver picked up a group of four people at 11.40pm on Monday.
There was a dispute over payment and the driver told them to get out of his car.
But things turned hostile and he was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance, before the quick-thinking driver grabbed his takings and jumped out the car as he feared what else was about to happen.
He was taken to the University Hospital of Hartlepool with injuries to his face and was described as “shaken” by police.
Police tracked the car down to Milbank Terrace, in Station Town, and a pursuit followed that saw the car chased down the B1280 onto the A179 and into the Easington Road area of Hartlepool.
The driver then cut through estates before stopping when it was cornered in the dead end of Hindpool Close at 1.23am.
Detective Sergeant Dave Walker said: “Police were called to reports of a theft of a taxi, which resulted in a police pursuit.
“Investigations are ongoing and anyone with information about this incident can contact myself.”
Det Sgt Walker can be reached on (01642) 302178 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
l Three men, aged 21, 26 and 32, and a 20-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of robbery.
The 21-year-old man, who was also arrested on suspicion of failing to give a roadside sample, and the woman have been bailed. The other two men are still in police custody.