A TAXI driver has given up his job after a terrifying knife robbery.

Fazal Abbas is now working in a shop after the attack.

Simon Dyson, who held a knife to Mr Abbas’ throat and demanded his takings, was jailed for six years and eight months at Bolton Crown Court.

The court heard that 22-year-old Dyson “went off the rails” and committed a string of offences after splitting up with his partner of six years.

In March, he booked a private hire car from a pub in Bury, and directed the driver Mr Abbas to a secluded area of Broad Oak Lane.

When Mr Abbas stopped, Dyson, grabbed him around the neck and held the knife to his throat.

He racially abused him and demanded his valuables.

Two others then arrived at the scene and joined in the attack. Mr Abbas was slapped and punched and the three got away with £70 and a mobile phone.

Mr Abbas, who worked as a taxi driver for 13 years, became wary of picking up male passengers after the attack and at times refused fares, out of fear.

William Donnelly, prosecuting, read a statement from Mr Abbas to the court, in which he said: “On that night I feared for my life. I have a wife and small children. Although I was not seriously injured, I suffered redness to my face and bruising to my leg.”

Dyson, of Foxglove Drive, Bury, also admitted a series of other offences. On October 24 last year he verbally abused a neighbour, Angela Leach, in the street.

Later that day, after drinking, he went to another neighbour’s home and was abusive and began pulling bricks out of the garden wall and threatened to throw them through the windows and petrol bomb the house.

He then went in the house and there was a struggle with the owner, Colin Cooper, and he began smashing things up.

In June he targeted another neighbour, Angela Bell. She saw him peering into her car and went out to challenge him. He pulled out a knife and he struck the car with it. The woman’s dog ran out of the house, and he picked it up by its collar and put the knife to its throat. She grabbed her pet back and ran inside and called the police.

In December last year he also kicked out at a police officer when he was arrested for breaching his bail conditions. He was given a suspended sentence in July last year for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Dyson pleaded guilty to robbery, affray, two public order offences, assaulting a police officer, possession of a bladed article, criminal damage and breaching a suspended sentence.

Mr David Bruce, defending, said: “He went off the rails and turned to alcohol and drugs and he gave up on himself, his partner and his child.”