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Bus services 'could be withdrawn' after yob attacks
A BUS company has warned that it could withdraw services in parts of Southampton if vandals keep on targeting its vehicles.
First Hampshire spoke out after two more of its buses were attacked by stone throwing vandals on a Southampton estate – the fourth attack in the space of a fortnight.
Two buses had their windows smashed as they were driving near St Monica Road in Sholing on Monday at 9.45pm.
Police are investigating the incident, which is the latest in a string of attacks Last week a pensioner was showered in glass after a terrifying attack on two buses running down Shirley Road, while bus services running through Redbridge Hill were stopped temporarily for the safety of staff and passengers.
It comes after a Daily Echo investigation revealed that a child as young as seven was involved in an ambush of the number 2 service along Redbridge Hill in Millbrook, Southampton.
He was one of a gang of children whose ages ranged from seven to 13, who were handed down acceptable behaviour contracts – a junior version of an antisocial behaviour order.
First Hampshire decided to take drastic action by wheeling out a “battle bus” fitted with cameras to catch the offenders in that part of the city.
General manager Chrissie Bainbridge said: “We are working with the police to work out why these attacks are happening. Last week I thought half-term was the cause but this latest attack is worrying.
“If it is persistent we will agree a process with Southampton Safe City Partnership, and we will need to review our service level provision - but we are a long way from that.”
She added that should attacks keep happening, then the parts of the city where the vandals are striking could have services withdrawn for evenings or at certain times of day.
The Safe City Partnership aims to tackle anti-social behaviour in Southampton and deputy chairman and Cabinet member for communities Satvir Kaur is worried about the attacks spreading.
She said: “It is definitely concerning and we do have to talk with bus companies and other agencies.
“Irrespective of what mode of transport it is, we need to make sure that our residents feel safe using public transport.
“I think there is a fear that this could be a city wide issue. That is something we do not want, it is really important that we identify the individuals very quickly and work with them and their families to ensure reoffending does not happen.”
She said that the Safe City Partnership would discuss the attacks at its next meeting.