A minicab office in the town where scores of young white girls were groomed and sexually abused by mainly Pakistani men has started offering white drivers to customers on request.
According to reports residents in Heywood, Rochdale have been offered the "special" service after two local cab drivers of Pakistani origin were among several who were jailed as part of Britain's biggest grooming scandal.
The taxi service - named Car 2000 - was formerly known as Eagle Taxis which had employed two of the nine men jailed for the abuse.
Stephen Campbell, the manager of the company, told the Guardian newspaper that it had started offering the service after white customers began requesting white drivers.
“We have had quite a lot of customers requesting what they call a ‘local’ driver. A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale,” he said.
“But it’s a business and we have got a duty to do what the customer asks us to. I don’t think we can discriminate against the customer in the same way. It is a business at the end of the day. We have a large bank loan to pay back,” he said.
However, Campbell defended Asian drivers, saying not all of them can be painted with the same brush.
“The Asian drivers are harder working, they do what they are asked and they don’t complain about it. They have a much better work ethic. If the public could actually see these [Asian] people close up and see what they are about, I don’t think they would be asking for white drivers.”
The town was at the heart of the infamous Rochdale grooming scandal in which gangs of Pakistani and Afghan-origin men systematically groomed and sexually abused dozens of young white girls, some as young as 11.
Local officials say that the company is not in breach of any discrimination laws.