Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bandit's Joyride Ends in Bonfire; Pounds 100,000 Bus Taken on 24-Mile Trip Then Torched

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bandit's Joyride Ends in Bonfire; Pounds 100,000 Bus Taken on 24-Mile Trip Then Torched

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW GLOVER

A SMOKE scorched skeleton is all that remains of a pounds 100,000 bus after a joyride menace struck.

The Number 26 was taken from its depot in the early hours on a bizarre 24-mile round trip before being dumped and torched.

The man who took the yellow Go North East bus even stopped off in Newcastle for a 45-minute break before setting off on his return journey.

The bus, worth more than pounds 100,000, was found burnt-out two hours after it was taken.

Today company bosses appealed for help in tracing the man.

Before taking the bus the thief had told a driver he needed to get to the Boldon dog track in South Tyneside. The bus was taken from the Deptford Bus Depot in Sunderland just after 12.30am on June 11.

A man is seen on CCTV getting onboard and starting it up and a tracking device on the bus reveals the route he took.

From the bus station near Queen Alexandra Bridge in Sunderland, the bus headed towards Washington before joining the A194, travelling along the Felling bypass and connecting with the central motorway in Newcastle.

The bus pulled into Eslington Road in Jesmond at 12.14am.

It is not known why the man stopped off close to the Metro Station in Jesmond before setting off back to Wearside.

At 1.55am the man drove along Osborne Road in Jesmond and joined the A1058 before getting back on to the central motorway and heading for the Testos roundabout with the A19 where he turned off towards Boldon.

The bus, which featured Black Cats logos, was seven years old and has cost the company pounds 110,000 to replace.

It was found burnt out on an unmarked road in Boldon near the railway crossing at Boldon Lane and Benton Road. The tracking device shows the bus rolled into the unmarked road at 2.14am.

Phil Southall, divisional manager for Go North East, said the firm believes the man who took the bus may have had a PCV licence and driven or worked on buses in the past. …

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