Man arrested after bus is driven from South Shields depot
A suspected bus thief without a ticket to ride has been arrested after ploughing it into barriers on a busy South Tyneside dual carriageway.
Detectives believe the man broke into Stagecoach North East’s depot at Dean Road, Chichester, South Shields, and made off with the vehicle.
But his early hours escapade ended less than two miles away when he came off the road close to the Tesco supermarket at Simonside.
Police arrested a 31-year-old soon after being alerted to theft at around 1.10am on Sunday, January 6.
They are thought to have found the bus at a standstill on the 40mph Newcastle Road, which leads from Tyne Dock, South Shields, to the A19.
Investigators believe the driver lost control and slammed into a crash barrier, close to a traffic light junction.
The theft has also prompted an internal probe by Stagecoach North East, which confirmed their depot was broken into and a bus taken.
The company, which would not say if the vehicle was single or double decker, confirmed it was cooperating with police.
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Northumbria Police said no-one was injured in the collision but confirmed a 31-year-old man had been arrested and released without charge, pending further inquiries.
A spokesman added: “At 1.08am on January 6, we received a report of a suspected stolen bus travelling on Newcastle Road, South Shields.
“Officers responded and located the bus, which is believed to have been taken from a depot off Dean Road, after it had crashed into a barrier and come to a stop. Nobody was injured.
“A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated vehicle taking. He has been released under investigation.”
A Stagecoach North East spokesman said: “We can confirm that on Sunday, 6 January, an intruder broke into the South Shields depot and a vehicle was driven away unlawfully.
“We are assisting the police with their inquiries and have launched an investigation of our own into the circumstances surrounding the theft.”