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Lovebirds forced to pay £350 by rogue New York taxi gang

Engaged: Craig Nickels and Ellie Austin in New York

A BRITISH couple were conned out of $470 (£350) for a ten minute journey by a rogue New York taxi gang.

Craig Nickels, 30, and his fiancée Ellie Austin, 24, were ‘exhausted’ when they were approached by a fraudster who led them to a minibus after they landed at JFK Airport from Manchester.

Mr Nickels, from Derby, was immediately asked for a $20 ‘parking fee’ and was tricked into handing over his passport details.

The Tesco worker asked the driver to pull over when told the fare would be $900 (£670) because of ‘new tolls and fees’. ‘He was going on and on about how his boss would get involved, and while he wasn’t physically forceful, he was trying to scare me,’ he said.

‘In the end he said he’d drop it to $470 and I gave him it. I was shaken up, upset and scared.’

Mr Nickels, who reported the gang to police, got his parents to send £400 to see them through and proposed to Miss Austin at the top of the Rockefeller Center.

‘It was a brilliant holiday, but the scam did take the shine off it,’ he said.