THREE men involved in a robbery in which a taxi driver was "brutally" attacked on his first day at work have been jailed for a total of more than 12 years.
The 41-year-old victim picked up the trio in Preston city centre to take them to Whalley. But Ibrahim Ahmed Member ended up on a dirt track where he was attacked and robbed of £700 and his mobile phone.
Ian McMinn, 20, of Blake Gardens, Daniel Jones, 19, of Garden Street, and Reece Vickery, 20, of Coleridge Place, all Great Harwood, appeared for sentencing at Preston Crown Court.
McMinn pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery and received three years three months youth custody. Jones and Vickery denied the offence but were convicted following a trial, each receiving four and a half years youth custody.
The court heard the taxi driver was working in his newly-bought cab on 3 December when the defendants asked to be taken to Whalley. Another driver had refused to take them because they were drunk, loud and rowdy.
Miss Shazia Naqui, prosecuting, said one of them asked him to turn off the main road onto a track and to stop near a farm.
McMinn climbed out of a back window. Mr Member was dragged from his vehicle and punched by McMinn a number of times. He was knocked to the floor and kicked. Mr Member was unable to say who had kicked him but the three defendants were standing in front of him.
"Even after taking the money the attack continued," said Miss Naqui.
In a police interview McMinn admitted he decided not to pay and made partial admissions to using violence.
When Jones was questioned he said he disassociated himself from the decision not to pay. Vickery denied knowledge of the incident.
Miss Naqui said McMinn had previous convictions while the other two did not.
Mr John Woodward, for McMinn, said he owned up to what he had done at a very early stage.
He added: "He is consumed with contrition and remorse. It is very difficult to explain why he committed the offence. He was highly intoxicated."
Mr Roger Baldwin said Vickery had served in the Army and done peacekeeping duties. He added: "Apart from this incident everything that could be said about him is positive."
He said the offence followed a planned night out with Jones in Preston and by chance they came across McMinn who tagged along.
Mr Mark Stuart, for Jones, said there had not been any agreement to commit robbery. Jones, who was also a soldier, was deemed to have shown exemplary conduct in the Army.
Judge Stuart Baker said the taxi driver had been going about his job, and had ended up "quite brutally and persistently beaten."
The judge told the defendants: "The courts have said that sentences must be imposed which will serve to remind the public that people such as taxi drivers must be protected, passing sentences of such a length one hopes will deter people from doing the same thing."