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Bus driver reveals extent of abuse

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By Ben Murray
Annan and Eskdale
Bus driver reveals extent of abuse

A FRUSTRATED bus driver has revealed more about the abuse he and his fellow drivers have received from youths in Gretna.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke out after Stagecoach announced that services travelling both ways will no longer be stopping at Central Avenue on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays after 7 pm due to anti-social behaviour.

He said: “The abuse that we are subjected to is disgusting and we should not be subject to this for doing our job.

“These kids continually press the emergency stop button at the back of the bus, which shuts down the power steering and air brakes and makes it impossible to stop if the bus is moving.

“I’m genuinely frightened that a child is going to get hurt, these buses weigh ten tonnes and they can cause serious injury.

“Some of these youths run alongside the bus and try to grab the driver’s window and hurl abuse and sometimes even food at us.

“Just last week one lad came onto the bus covered in blood and accused the driver of assaulting him. This was a lie and cameras both in and outside the bus proved that, and police have been informed.”

Appealing for help from the community, he added: “As drivers, we are pleading with anyone that knows the culprits responsible for these actions and explain to them how dangerous it is.

“If it continues, myself and other drivers on this route will not service Gretna at all, which would be a shame for many locals.”

Backing him, Kirsten Herbst-Gray, chair of Gretna and Rigg Community Council, this week said: “The vandalism of buses and verbal attacks on bus drivers show once again that Gretna needs permanent police representation.

“Gretna and Rigg Community Council have been organising monthly consultations with the community police officer and with support from Police Scotland – yet it has become obvious that it takes more than that to keep residents safe and happy.

“We are particularly concerned about the health and safety of our bus drivers who have responsibilities for their vehicle and passengers. They provide a vital service and deserve respect and recognition for what they do.

“As a community council, we hear the calls for CCTV in Central Avenue and Annan Road; it is about more than that. Vandalism is intentional and malicious. It is a personal choice nobody has to make.”

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