BOSSES have praised the bravery of a Hampshire bus driver who was stabbed as he foiled a late-night robbery.

The 48-year-old victim was wounded in front of a lone passenger after a masked man boarded the vehicle and brandished a small-bladed weapon.

The driver refused to part with any cash and suffered an injury to his hand after confronting the would-be robber.

Now the employee’s courage has been saluted by senior staff at the Bluestar bus company.

Operations manager Paul Coyne, below, said he was relieved that the driver was not seriously hurt and that no passengers were injured in the incident, which took place outside Hythe Hospital on Friday at 11.40pm.

Daily Echo:

He added: “Our driver, who has sustained a minor stab wound to the hand, went beyond the call of duty.

“His actions prevented any theft from occurring and he has the full support and gratitude of the company.”

The Blackfield to Southampton bus was travelling along Beaulieu Road, Hythe, when it pulled into a bus stop where three men were waiting.

One of the men had his face covered and demanded money after storming on to the vehicle.

Daily Echo:

A police spokesman said: “The driver confronted the man, who left empty-handed and was followed by the other two men, who were wearing dark coloured hooded tops. They were last seen walking towards Hythe.”

Anyone with any information about the incident should call Det Con Jo Matt-hews at Lyndhurst police station on 101 or call Crime-stoppers on 0800 555 111.