County Lines dealers used an Uber account to dupe a driver into taking them on a 215 mile drug running trip.
The terrified cabbie spent over eight hours ferrying three boys around east London, starting from Romford, and travelling as far as Clacton in Essex and back again.
They demanded the driver make more than 20 stops along the route, including in Dagenham, Ilford, Stratford and Basildon in Essex, before returning to Romford.
The driver, who wished to remain anonymous to protect his pregnant wife – said he was too scared to turf them out.
An image on the driver’s Uber app showing the journey, marked in blue
The app shows the length of time the journey took, the distance, and the £0 payment to the driver
The driver was unable to claim back the cost of the journey straight away. However, he was eventually paid.
Uber’s payment policy states that all drivers are paid weekly and that payments are deposited automatically via direct deposit.
Uber say that if more than 5 days has passed and a payment has not gone into your account then a driver should contact them for help in order to amend any late payments.
It is unclear how the gang was able to order the cab and whether a stolen card was used.
He said during the trip he saw them flashing numerous credit cards, delivering dodgy packages to various addresses and boasted of spending £40,000 at an 18th birthday party.
He said: ‘I was scared the whole time. At one stop they said: ‘That’s another gang, this is dangerous, we have to move.
‘I thought there was going to be fight. Another gang member shone his motorbike lights into the car to see who was inside and they said: ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’
An Uber spokeswoman said that it takes ‘a zero tolerance approach to any illegal activity on our app’
‘They are dangerous people. If they started fighting I would get hurt. I don’t want to witness this kind of behaviour.’
The gang ordered the Uber at 3pm, for a short one mile trip. But after arriving at their destination, they demanded he head to another address.
This continued for the next eight hours until they all got out at a petrol station and he managed to drive away.
The driver said when he complained to Uber, he did not get any response more than a week later.
‘It was dangerous, I was driving for eight-and-a-half hours without a break,’ the driver said. There needs to be better safety for drivers.’
An Uber spokeswoman said: ‘We take a zero tolerance approach to any illegal activity on our app.
‘If we are made aware of any allegations of this nature we reserve the right to immediately terminate access to the app and we work closely with police authorities across the UK.’
According to the National Crime Agency, County Lines drug dealers often use app-based minicab companies.
A spokesman said: ‘An emerging trend around the use of app-based taxi companies to transport both offenders and potential victims of exploitation to supply areas has been identified.’
County Lines gangs traffic drugs from big cities, such as London, Birmingham and Manchester to rural areas to sell.
Essex and other Home Counties have been identified as target areas.
The gangs groom youngsters to deal drugs in the rural areas through phone lines.
Police estimate there are 1,000 branded County Lines phone numbers across the country.