Buses pelted with bricks and stones in spate of attacks in Greater Manchester

Vehicles have been targeted with bricks and stones across the city-region, a frustrated operator has said.

A bus company is appealing for public help to stop a spate of vandalism of its vehicles across Greater Manchester.

First Manchester says there have been numerous incidents of buses being pelted with bricks and stones while on the move or waiting at stop overs in the past fortnight.

The company is now reaching out to community leaders, residents and local councillors to help put a stop to the spate of damage.

First Manchester says drivers and passengers are being put in danger and it is working with the police to try to identify those responsible.

Damage caused to a First Manchester bus by vandalism

What are the incidents of vandalism that have been occurring?

First Manchester says there have been more than eight incidents of buses being vandalised in the space of the last two weeks.

It is now asking for public help in areas including parts of Manchester and Wigan and Oldham to bring an end to buses being targeted with bricks and stones.

The company said one location of particular concern was the Copley Estate in Stalybridge where the 348 service had to be diverted due to four buses being damaged with smashed windows.

A damaged Vantage bus

Incidents have also occurred on the 409 running between Rochdale and Ashton, the 84 service between Manchester and Huddersfield and the 83 from Oldham via Newton Heath and passing through Failsworth and Hollinwood.

In addition the Vantage service which runs into Manchester city centre from the Leigh side of Wigan borough has experienced problems.

Incidents have been concentrated in an area of the guided busway near Tyldesley between Astley Street and Sale Lane, the operator said.

The problems had also led First Manchester to suspend services on certain days.

What has the company said?

First Manchester has blasted the acts of vandalism which it says are dangerous for its staff and customers alike, and said efforts were ongoing with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to try to take action.

The company urged anyone with information about the spate of criminal damage to come forward.

Adrian Worsfold, operations director of First Manchester, said: “This mindless vandalism is endangering our drivers and customers and we’re sure the communities will want to join together and do what they can to end this reckless behaviour before someone is seriously hurt or worse.

“The safety of our staff and customers is our highest priority and we are working closely with the police to investigate the incidents including the use of on board CCTV footage to help identify the individuals involved.

Damage to a Vantage bus

“Although isolated, such attacks can have very serious consequences and we would encourage anyone with information to contact the police or get in touch with Crimestoppers.

“Anyone with information about the people involved should come forward with what they know.

“Every time we have to divert buses or shorten a route it is disrupting the lives of local people in the communities we serve.

“Acts of vandalism cause significant interference to timetable arrangements. We aim to source a replacement bus as quickly as possible in order to minimise disruption to our customers, but when vandalism occurs while the bus is in service, then it does inevitably and regrettably result in at least part of that scheduled journey being cancelled.

“Repairing a bus means it is missing from service the following day too.”

What should people do if they are able to help?

Anyone with information about these incidents should ring the police on 101 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.