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Middlesbrough cabbie relieves lad of iPhone

No cash on you? Just leave the mobe on the dash...

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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 on me so he asked me to put my phone on the dashboard.

“When I got home I went inside to get the money and brought it out, but he said it wasn’t enough. I then went inside again to get more but when I came out, he had gone."

Admitting to a certain degree of absent-mindedness*, the games design student added: “At the time I didn’t realise I didn’t have my phone but in the morning I realised that he had asked for it to make sure I paid.

“My mum then tried to call my phone but it had been switched off. We rang my phone company, and they have said the SIM card has been removed."

The poor lad concluded: “I can’t believe it. I have heard of similar things happening before but you think you can trust a taxi driver.”

Horkan's equally incredulous mum, Lynn Dotchin, said: “You would think Ryan would have been safe with the taxi driver – I just can’t believe it. We thought the driver might have driven off without realising he still had the phone and would bring it back, but when he didn’t we called the police.”

The Jesus Phone was a £500 Xmas present from dad Mark, who said he couldn't afford to stump up for another.

Cleveland cops are looking into the matter, and a Middlesbrough Council spokesman assured: “We are concerned by this incident and are currently working with Mr Horkan and the police to assist with the investigation of this matter and to help identify the driver involved.”

The Gazette has a snap of a disconsolate Horkan and his empty iPhone box here. ®

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* Legally, I am required to stress that this is not a euphemism for "admitting to a certain degree of leglessness".

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