A TAXI driver has been unable to work after his cab and his wife’s car were damaged in a botched theft.

Joseph Magri, 50, was woken in the early hours by the sound of his wife’s car being reversed into his taxi.

Yobs got in by smashing the windows of the cab in search of cash, but their luck was in when they discovered a key hidden in the glovebox.

Mr Magri, of Vowler Road, Langdon Hills, had forgotten to remove the spare key for his wife Sharon’s Ford Focus the night before.

The thieves initially tried to make off in the cab, then tried Mrs Magri’s car.

In their haste the car was crashed into the taxi parked alongside, waking the terrified couple in the process.

Mr Magri, who works in London, said: “People tend to target taxis because they assume we leave money in them, but of course most cabbies would know not to do that overnight.

“I had a holdall in there, but it just had paperwork and coins in it.

“I only had the spare key for my wife’s car in there because I had gone to pick her up.

“I meant to take it out when I got home, but I completely forgot – it’s just typical.

“As soon as we woke up and realised what was happening, I shouted out of the window and managed to scare them off.

“They quickly got out the car and ran off.”

Mr Magri believes the lack of street lights means there is no deterrent for criminals in his neighbourhood.

He was unable to give police a description of the two thieves because of the blackout.

Essex County Council began switching street lights off from midnight until 5am earlier this year in a bid to save cash. Mr Magri, who normally wakes up at 2.30am to get ready for work, said: “At the time I’m leaving in the morning, the lights are still off and it has certainly made a big difference.

“Normally I’m just careful and make sure I lock the doors, but this just proves it isn’t as safe any more.

“Criminals think they can get away with things, because there’s no way people will see them.

“I can’t return to work until the taxi is repaired, so I’m the one who is missing out on money.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101.