back to article Middlesbrough cabbie relieves lad of iPhone

A Middlesbrough teen has been left "devastated" after a cabbie made off with the iPhone he'd demanded as guarantee the lad would pay the fare. Shaken 16-year-old Ryan Horkan explained to the local Evening Gazette: “I had been out with my friends and flagged down a taxi to go home. I explained to the driver I didn’t have money …


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  1. Marky W

    "you think you can trust a taxi driver"

    Yeah, and Pol Pot was just misunderstood.

    Obviously just visiting from planet clueless. I mean, really.

  2. Tatsky

    "but you think you can trust a taxi driver"

    Do you? Really?

    1. djack
      Thumb Up

      Minority can't be trusted

      I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of Taxi drivers in Middlesbrough (and elsewhere) are honest and hard-working and look out for their customers.

      In fact, my friend lost her phone in a Middlesbrough cab a few months back. The driver found the phone, noticed that I had recently sent a text and then called me to let me know he had her phone and would leave it at the taxi office to be collected. She got her phone back and the driver got a few quid tip in thanks... everyone's happy.

      "Taxi driver returns lost phone" doesn't make as emotive a headline I suppose.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much?

    £500? Man got rinsed.

    Hereditary gullibility?

  4. Miek


    How this story made the news I cannot imagine :

    "Drunk 16 year old 'Games Designer' gives away iPhone"

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Crazy Taxi


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Crazy Taxi: Middlesborough

        Presumably a cabriolet Skoda Octavia diesel, with a witty trendy Californian driver who dashes between or over traffic, performing stunts such as leaping off the roof of the ICI factory to increase the fare.

        I bet the young lad didn't want to pay the fare because the driver took longer than 90 seconds to drive the 500 metres to "Tower Records" or whatever brand Sega was endorsing that night.

        He should have lept out and exclaimed "too slow!" and the taxi driver would then notice a multiple person fare flagging them down.

        After 10 minutes or so on the clock, the Skoda would then stop, and an appropriate PSV taxi licence based on these escapades would be issued by Middlesborough Council Crazy Taxi Licencing departments, exclaiming: "Class beeeeee licence!"

  5. Bunker_Monkey


    16 and clueless obviously. You been pwned there my young man! :) Epic fail on your part... I wouldnt have flagged the taxi if you didnt have the cash!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop me here if I've missed something.

    A penniless legless 16 year youf is out in town and flags down a taxi. He fails to promptly pay and the taxi does a runner with his £500 phone.

    A pissed 16 year old unaccompanied out in town.

    An un-licensed taxi.

    An expensive stolen phone.

    What are the police doing about these 3 almost certainly criminal situations? Answers on a pinhead, please.

  7. Kirstian K

    But Surely

    Its illegal to drink at 16....

    got what he deserves if you ask me.... a harsh lesson in life.

    dont trust no bugger.

    (its the dad i feel sorry for, as he is the actual one out of pocket)

    1. Crosser

      RE: But Surely

      You can drink at 16 if you are eating and are accompanied by someone over 18.

    2. Thumbs

      Err No it's not

      See title

    3. g e


      I think it's only illegal to PURCHASE alcohol (or attempt to) under the legal age, not actually consume it.


      Anyway the dolt should report it stolen. It was INSURED, right? You know, like, it cost FIVE HUNDRED QUID (hahahahahahah!!!!) ... DUH.

  8. Cosmo

    "When I got home I went inside to get the money and brought it out, but he said it wasn’t enough"

    So the taxi driver:

    a) Ripped you off

    b) Nicked your phone

    Oh well, I guess you learn from your mistakes...

  9. Bassey

    Can't blame Him

    Given that the kid couldn't even remember leaving the iPhone as a deposit and had already come out with the wrong amount once I'm not sure I believe his story 100%. Sounds more like he went back in, fell asleep drunk and the taxi driver (quite rightly) got fed up of waiting on the meter and drove off with the agreed deposit.

    A fool and his iPhone etc.

  10. Robert E A Harvey

    you think you can trust a taxi driver...

    ... And, of course, there is nothing wrong in getting in a taxi when you can't pay for it.


    1. Nextweek

      He did pay for it

      Clearly they bartered a deal where if he was unable to pay the iPhone would be used instead or am I missing the point of a deposit?

      The verbal contract clearly stated that it would be held until he returned with the correct money. The police have nothing to investigate otherwise pawn brokers all over the country would be going bust.

      1. RichardB

        deal? Verbal contract perhaps?

        Is a 16 year old legally able to be bound by a contract?

    2. Chaosechoz

      Taxi Drivers are the salt of the.... (earth?)

      I would NEVER allow my 16 year old's to go anywhere with any of their high end gadgets.

      I have three 16 year old daughters, I live by the following rules:

      * Insure all the girls gadgets, take the 5 year "theft Insurance!" it's there for a reason!

      * They do not leave the house with the following items, Ipads, Ipod Touches or Laptops! unless I know for a fact they are still insured and have been marked with a anti-theft pen.

      * Have their phones tracked at all times (In these days of rapists, murders and boyfriends!!!! I want to know they are were they say they are!)

      Simple things really, you would have thought that if the boys dad could afford the £500 he in turn could afford the Theft Insurance :D

  11. advocate

    ummm £500 ??

    In the pic he is holding a 3GS box.... no way that was £500 this christmas....

    In fact looking at the UK apple store online the only 3GS they sell is £428 - this is after the VAT increase as well..

    I call shenanigans. Muppet lost it while drunk and is seeking to blame a cabbie.

  12. petur

    still a crime

    I *really* hate the tendency to blame the victim for not being careful enough when getting robbed. It was a crime and it will always be a crime to take something that isn't yours. Period.

    Over here (Belgium), police manage to give you a fine if you do not lock your car, because you encourage thieves. WTF? I'm ok that you can't call upon insurance in such cases, but the person who took the stuff is still a thief. I guess it is easier to fine the victim.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot


      Agree 100%! Yes it is a crime, the cabbie stole it, cut and dried....however, giving someone you barely know, who is in something that can move away very quickly, a very expensive item 'to look after as a deposit', is often not going to end very happily is it?

      This was a lack of common sense, something know-it-all kids get kicked out of them very quickly as they grow up to be adults. I still occasionally do stupid things now, let alone the utterly stupid things I didi when I was 16. I thought I knew how the world worked when I was in my teens, when it was obvious to all that I didn't! Parents and others told me life was not easy and like every kid I ignored them, now I know they were right!

      You live, you learn, that's called growing up and we all have to do it!

    2. CD001


      ... but if the youth in question had been out on the lash then the victim was also a criminal - ooooh who do you side with now?!?

      1. Oninoshiko


        Actually, it sounds like the phone was payment for services renderd. There was clearly a verbal agreement that the phone would be used as compensation if payment could not be rendered in a timely fastion. It was not, the cabbie (rightfully) kept the phone, as was agreed.

        The only possible issue I can see here is tax avoidence. (the cabbie *IS* going to declare the phone on his taxes, right?)

        Beer! It sounds like it's what the kid should be upset with. (While most of us have gotten pissed, some of us know it's comming and make sure we are able to get home/somewhere we can resonably sleep)

  13. LuMan


    Couldn't he just call his provider with the IEMEEIEI* number (or whatever it's called!) and get the phone effectively bricked???

    *Yeah, I know I could whip the battery out of my mob and check what the actual initials are, but I can't be arsed!

    1. dotdavid

      In the UK, sure

      Yes, if the phone is being used in the UK. A lot of these stolen phones are sold and shipped off abroad where the networks aren't part of the IMEI-blocking agreement, alas.

      Although as only an opportunist alleged thief, the taxi driver might not realise that.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    His dad is a Learndirect tutor.

  15. Allyourbasearebelongtous
    Paris Hilton

    Shirley there's shome mishtake

    There's a lot of things that don't ring true. He gets in a taxi with no money, why not phone home and get your parents to come get you? The lad's been out on the razz at 16, thought legal drinking age was 18? He leaves the cabbie with the phone?

    Couldn't he have called the taxi company in the morning and told them one of their drivers made off with his phone? The taxi company will have a log of who picked him up. Unless....

    Hope the police don't waste too much time on this as it smells of the brown stuff.

    Paris? She wouldn't be guilty of wasting police time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "He gets in a taxi with no money" He covered that by handing over the 'phone as insurance while he popped inside to get some cash. Have you never asked the taxi to stop at an ATM?

      "why not phone home and get your parents to come get you" Because they're pissed? Because he could just get a taxi? Wtf?

      "razz at 16" Drinking at 16? He deserves to be robbed! Lucky he didn't get beaten up. In my day... or some such shite.

      "legal drinking age was 18" You can purchase alcohol at 18 (technically you can purchase it at 16 with a meal but this is a bit cloudy these days) . You can drink at any age although the Police can confiscate alcohol from under 18s.

      "Couldn't he have called the taxi company" He flagged down a taxi in the street. You're expecting him to remember the company? It could have been a private taxi.

  16. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    He learned a valuable lesson...some people are complete bastards!

    Some people are nice, some are OK, some are great and some are utter pieces of shite. Be more careful who you trust in future.

    If/when this happens to my kids, it will be "Sorry but life is hard, almost every bugger is out to fleece you, hurt you, do you over for a cut, so next time, be a little bit less trusting and be a lot more careful! Now how do you propose to work this off so you can me back for the phone and buy a new one, newspaper round, Saturday shop job or lots of housework/decorating?"

  17. Graham Bartlett

    Number for Muppets Anonymous for Mr Horken, please

    Honestly - thick as a brick.

    I used to go off with friends when I was younger than that. Not being completely stupid, I made sure I had the fare to get back home (actually usually got a return ticket) so I wasn't stuck. Or if things went pear-shaped and I missed the bus/train, I rang my folks for a lift. I did *NOT* randomly flag down a cabbie knowing full well I couldn't pay him. And if I did get a cab, I'd ask in advance how much it'd be, and I'd keep an eye on the meter as we went, so there was no chance I'd be overcharged at the other end.

    I certainly got suckered into some stuff when I was a kid. But this kind of thing - no sympathy, I'm afraid.

    There's also the value of the phone, too. To the cabbie who (not unreasonably) thought he wasn't going to get paid, the phone is worth precisely what he can sell it for, and for most phones that's £20 at the local pawnshop. For a top-line Jesus Phone, maybe £50.

    And the legality too. The kid got into the taxi knowing he couldn't pay, the cabbie took his phone as a deposit against getting the correct money at the other end, and the kid didn't produce the correct money in a reasonable time. IMO the cabbie is absolutely within his rights to say "screw you".

  18. Anonymous Coward

    more like....

    it’s more like a drunk teenager lost his new phone, realised in the morning when he woke up... afraid to tell daddy that he lost his £500 Judas phone... so made up a tale that some taxi driver had away with it...

    With all the cctv around it won’t be a hard job to identify the cab involved....

    pity he didn’t opt for a real phone like a HTC desire... log in to the web service, locate phone (even if the sim has been changed) so you know where to find it... disable it, delete all its contents and leave a message on screen of who to call to arrange its return to its rightful owner...

    1. Phil 54


      The HTCsense site doesn't work for the Desire, only the Deisre HD and Desire Z

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Middlesbrough - errrrr, yeah...

    It's just clicked that this happened in Middlesbrough - maybe the lad wasn't out on the lash but visiting one of the many ladies of negotiable virtue available in that fine, fine northern town (allegedly).

    Yeah - I lived in Sunderland for a while - posh compared to Middlesbrough :P

  20. tmTM

    Lies damn Lies

    The cabby took him home to get more money?

    So not to the nearest cash machine like everyone else would?

    The whole story stinks, the only grain of thruth is that the youth in question is indeed a complete numpty who probably left the phone on whatever park bench he was out drinking white lightning on.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    £500 Jesus-phone !!


    Still, (too) young my Niece dropped her new iPhone down the pan a few weeks ago.

    Dried it out, but DOA.

  22. Stu

    This whole story stinks of damned lies

    Odd fact 1 - Got in a cab with no money, Questionable.

    Odd fact 1.5 - Leave a £500 phone as collateral! Questionable.

    Odd fact 2 - Got home, went in for money, brought out not enough cash. Questionable.

    Odd fact 3 - Returned to find the taxi driver had gone. Questionable.

    Odd fact 4 - No mention of any distinguishing features on the vehicle, such as a Taxi ID or anything. Questionable but feasible naivety.

    Odd fact 5 - No mention of any particular cabbie company, no checking of license plate or anything.

    Odd fact 6 - Contacted the nearest news organisation for self exposure rather than carry out your own investigative legwork, eg. call the various local cabbie companies up and question them about the driver, etc. No just leave it to the cops to do nothing about.

    Nobody, just NOBODY should use a cab flagged down in the street - call a cab company (I'm guessing area code + 111 111 or 222 222 or 333 333 etc) on his iPhone and get them to turn up where you are instead of having to stumble to the nearest taxi rank.

    I lost count of the amount of things the kid did wrong there! Sure we're all a bit naive at that age, but this is mental.

    No, no no, its all just a bit too smelly to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nobody? Really?

      "Nobody, just NOBODY should use a cab flagged down in the street".

      I'm sure the twenty one thousand ish hackney carriage drivers in London might disagree with you there.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Yes, Really

        Strangely enough, you are lot likely to encounter very many London Cabs in Middlesbrough.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust a cabbie? Never!

    They are daylight robbers.

    Think he needs to carry an Alcatel instead, they won't want that.

  24. biznuge


    is this the same Ryan Horkan who likes "why do all imagrants insist on moving to middlesbrough" (excuse the spelling. it's not mine).

    It certainly looks like him to be fair.

    a) why is this news, of any kind........?

    b) why get into a taxi if you haven't got enough money to pay the bill (unless you plan to find a nice cul-de-sac with footpath access)...?

    c) why , if you know you haven't got enough money on you, but DO have enough money at home, would you mention said first consideration in the first place....?

    d) Nothing here makes any sense. Sounds like the lies concocted by an immature mind. this all sounds like utter barse...!

  25. Cosmo

    The reverse has also happened

    Back in my university days, I got into a taxi on the way home and the taxi driver was fuming! He picked up a bloke who didn't have enough money on him and they agreed that the guy would leave his phone in the car while the taxi driver waited outside the halls of residence.

    Ten minutes later, the cabbie realised that they guy had given him a fake phone, worth approximately 20p...

  26. Allan 1

    iemi blocks only useful if...

    If the cellco agrees to block it.

    I had my cellphone stolen early last year. A PAYG with Vodafone. I had (as I always do) noted down the IEMI code upon purchase. So I called customer services.

    "I have blocked the sim card for you."

    "Please block the IEMI code too. Its ....."

    "I don't think thats necessary, sir."

    No amount of persuasion would get him to block the IEMI code. So the thief just swaps the sim and has a nice handset at my expense.

  27. Daedalus Silver badge

    Absent mindedness

    The local word for legless etc. is "pallatic". I should know, having been absent-minded in the Boro on several memorable occasions.

  28. Paul 172


    hahahahahah, look at his "make a sad-face", thats hilarious.

    next time, pay the taxi or do a runner. non of this in-between stuff please

  29. stucs201

    What this proves.. that despite el reg's incessant rambling on the subject we DON'T want to use our phones to pay for stuff...

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Silly Little Boy!

    Should have been studying hard at home instead!

    Sent from my iPhone

  31. Anonymous John

    Moral of the story: carry two mobiles.

    Top of the range smartphone for use/willy-waving. Cheapo PAYG one to give muggers or to give as security to taxi-drivers.

  32. PReDiToR

    Silly sod

    Never flag down a Hackney Carriage or call a Private Hire Vehicle without sufficient funds to pay for the journey.

    Please guys/gals, put a £20 note in your shoe, bra, locket, keyring, battery compartment or anywhere safe for the end of the night.

    Enough money for a kebab/pizza and a cab home.

    If you have to break into your shoe to buy a drink you know you're messed up and need to go home rather than have another beer, right?

  33. U4eA

    A fine example..

    of a misguided yoof standing on his dick. Or a dubious fantasy to explain the loss of of his phone. I cant decide.

    Only requires the revelation that is in fact a test mule for the Jesus phone 5.0 and subsequent appearance on gizmodo to make the tale complete..

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