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Go Coach cancels 429 service after youths 'attack bus with pole and air rifle' in West Kingsdown

A bus company is terminating one of its routes after "youths attacked it with a pole and air rifle".

Go Coach has cancelled the 429 service, which runs between West Kingsdown and Dartford, after three incidents in the past week.

The 429 bus after being attacked with stones
The 429 bus after being attacked with stones

The company says one of its vehicles was attacked last Thursday by a group with a pole near the Gamecock pub, London Road, West Kingsdown.

Two further incidents, including a school bus being shot at resulting in a pupil being hit by glass, was reported by Go Coach in the same area on Monday.

The youngster was unharmed.

The company, which is based in Sevenoaks, claim more than £1,500 of damage has been done to its vehicles, including a large hole in the windscreen.

In a letter to customers, they wrote: "To prevent further damage to buses with what is already costing thousands of pounds in parts alone and also to ensure we do not have any injured staff or passengers, we have made the decision to terminate all "in the darkness" 429 journeys to West Kingsdown at Brands Hatch.

Austin Blackburn, managing director at Go Coach
Austin Blackburn, managing director at Go Coach

"We propose to keep this in place until we have assurances from the police or community that the risk is not present."

Managing director Austin Blackburn said: "The driver said he saw around eight youths attack the coach.

"It's not good at all. We've had to stop sending our buses into West Kingsdown until there's some confirmation that our passengers or staff won't be hurt."

The bus company explained it is still running the S11 to South Darenth and 413 to Meopham as it "should be safer due to earlier times".

the back window of the 429 after being smashed by stones
the back window of the 429 after being smashed by stones

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information.

Inspector Mark Stubberfield of the Sevenoaks Community Safety Unit said: "It is only through luck that these reckless acts haven’t resulted in someone being seriously injured or worse.

"On top of that, the damage has caused significant financial loss to the bus company and these actions will result in changes to bus routes as well as withdrawal of services.

"I want to reassure the public that we will use the full extent of our powers to ensure any offenders are held to account for their irresponsible and dangerous conduct and brought to justice.

He said patrols in the area have been increased and investigations to identify those responsible, including reviewing CCTV, is ongoing.

Anyone who sees anything suspicious is asked to call 101, or if a crime is in progress dial 999.

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