A SOUTHEND taxi driver suffered a cardiac arrest after a row over just two pounds during his shift.

The man, in his 50s, is believed to have been dropping female teenage passengers off in Ness Road, Shoebury, at about 10.15pm on Wednesday. Witnesses told The Echo the incident was over a £2 shortage for a fare.

The driver works for Southend-based AC Radio Cabs. It is understood that he suffered a head injury and cardiac arrest after being allegedly shoved to the ground.

A witness, Ross Henery, 34, from Campfield Road, was in another taxi near the incident when he heard the girls and the taxi driver arguing over a fare.

He said: “The girls kept saying they only had £10 and I think the disagreement was over a £12 charge, so literally over £2. The driver was holding one of the girls with reasonable force trying to wait for the police to arrive.”

A witness, who asked not to be named, said he was woken up by the sound of a girl screaming. He saw a girl pushed the driver. During the scuffle the man was alleged to have fallen to the floor.

He said: “The noise of him hitting the pavement was so loud.”

Three teenage girls have been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. Paramedics treated the cabbie at the scene and he was taken to hospital by air ambulance.

Steve Noakes, general manager of AC Radio Cabs, said: “I was with his family at the hospital until 3am. My thoughts are with him and his family at this time.”

An ambulance service spokesman said: “We were called at 10.16pm to an incident in Ness Road. An ambulance crew, a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance officer and an air ambulance from East Anglian Air Ambulance were dispatched to the scene to help. A man, believed to be in his 50s, was treated at the scene and was taken by land ambulance to hospital with a head injury in a serious condition.”

Police confirmed two of the girls, aged 16 and 17, are from Shoebury and one, aged 16. is from Southend. The driver is understood to be in a serious but stable condition after being resuscitated at the scene.