A WARRNAMBOOL taxi driver was the victim of a vicious assault on Sunday morning.
The male driver’s vehicle was approached at the Liebig Street taxi rank about 6.30am by a man wielding a screwdriver.
Detective Senior Constable Craig Wastell, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, said the man told the driver to get out of the vehicle.
The driver was attacked by the man, who fled the scene.
He suffered bruising and minor lacerations to his stomach.
Detective Senior Constable Wastell said police had tried to source CCTV footage of the incident but had been unsuccessful.
He said the offender was wearing a blue jumper with a white print on the front, grey tracksuit pants and had short hair.
Detective Senior Constable Wastell said it was believed the man was aged in his 20s.
“The taxi driver was very distraught by it,” Detective Senior Constable Wastell said.
He said it was hoped someone may have information that would help police locate the man.
“We have concerns due to the nature of the incident,” Detective Senior Constable Wastell said.
Warrnambool Radio Taxis director Andrew Watson said while he was not aware of the specific incident, drivers had recently reported a higher incidence of issues with drug-affected passengers.
He said he believed there had been a few recent incidents in which drivers had been assaulted and cars had been damaged.
“The feedback I’m getting from drivers, particularly the drivers at night, is they’re seeing a higher number of alcohol or drug affected passengers,” Mr Watson said.
He said the drivers indicated passengers under the influence of ice could become aggressive.
“Apparently they become aggressive quite quickly and that can be a bit frightening for the driver,” Mr Watson said.
His advice to drivers is to err on the side of caution.
A Warrnambool taxi driver, who did not want to be named, said the incident came as a shock to him.
He said he felt safe driving but had dealt with a lot of passengers who appeared to be under the influence of ice.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Warrnambool police on 5560 1333 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.