British Transport Police investigating Islamaphobic rant in Tunbridge Wells

Rise in hate crime reports in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge

British Transport Police are investigating a man’s Islamaphobic rant at a taxi driver as a hate crime. 

A verbal altercation outside Tunbridge Wells railway station just before midnight on Saturday [December 30] started when the unidentified man inquired about a journey to Horsmonden.

After the 31-year-old taxi driver, who is originally from Afghanistan, reportedly told him the 12 mile trip would be £42, the customer became abusive and made derogatory comments about his religion.

A video shows the man shouting and swearing outside the taxi rank as passers-by and taxi drivers try to calm the situation down.

The aggressor allegedly said: “You’re in England, not in Bangladesh.” 

The driver, who did not wish to be named, told reporters that he had been living in Tunbridge Wells for 15 years.

“Straight away he was asking me where I was born. He then started getting very aggressive and shouted some horrible things,” he said.

“The whole thing went on for half an hour. I went straight home and couldn’t sleep.

“I am so worried about working again.”

The driver said that he thought the aggressor, who appears to be in his 30s, was with his girlfriend.

He added: “Normally it is a nice town, I have lived here a long time, but since Brexit it has been getting worse and worse.

“Just this year I have seen about three similar things happen. It is horrible and very worrying.”

A British Transport Police spokesman said: “Officers are currently conducting a number of enquiries including seizing available CCTV and speaking with witnesses.”

Anyone who witnessed what happened is asked to contact officers by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 613 of 30/12/2017.

The aggressor was wearing a dark jacket, low-buttoned white shirt, had a beard, glasses and light brown hair.

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