A taxi driver who saved a teenage girl from abduction by an armed paedophile she met online has been praised by Cherwell District Council.
Satbir Arora was presented with a certificate for outstanding achievement in safeguarding by Cllr Kieron Mallon at Bodicote House on Monday.
The Bicester cabbie received mandatory safeguarding training from the council in December, 2016, and said: “The training was really useful. Because of the cases we read about on the safeguarding course I was able to recognise the signs and quickly spot that it was a grooming case.”
On February 20, Mr Arora took a 13-year-old girl from Oxfordshire to Gloucester railway station and became suspicious when no-one arrived to meet her.
Mr Arora was aware she was not being open about her journey so he asked the teenager to speak to his wife, who established her parents were unaware of her plans and called the police.
He then recorded calls with the person his passenger was going to meet, which were used as evidence against Sam Hewings, 24, of Hadley Road, Cam, Gloucestershire.
When police arrested Hewings, they found a rucksack containing knives, duct tape and co-codamol tablets. Online chat logs revealed his paedophilic tendencies and showed he had discussed kidnapping, sedating and rape.
Hewings was sentenced to a total of five years in prison for attempted abduction, and the distribution and making of indecent images at Gloucester Crown Court.
Cllr Mallon said: “I can’t praise Mr Arora enough for his caring attitude and for recognising that his passenger was in grave danger.”