THIS IS all that was left of a £110,000 “Black Cats” bus after it was taken on a joyride and then torched.
CCTV from Sunderland’s Deptford bus depot is today being studied after a crook drove off with the single decker vehicle.
The bus, which operates on the 26, 36A, and 36C routes in Sunderland, was then driven around Newcastle and South Tyneside before being set on fire and left completely gutted beside Newton Garth Farm in Boldon.
Police believe the thief had been travelling on a bus that drove into the city depot shortly before it was stolen.
Today Martin Harris, commercial director with Go North East, expressed his shock at the attack.
And he revealed that the cost of the arson must be met entirely by his company.
He said: “We have been shocked and appalled by this incident but our first concern was to establish that none of our staff or any member of the public was injured due to this reckless and dangerous behaviour.
“We can only speculate on the motive for this attack and we are now working closely with the police.
“This is a hugely costly crime and will have an impact on our costs.
“The vehicle costs £110,000 to replace new and it’s a bill that the company will have to pick up.
“It is one thing for a so-called joyrider to take the vehicle, but then to go on and torch and completely destroy the vehicle is something else all together.”
Luckily, there is clear CCTV footage available of the individual suspected of stealing the vehicle.
Mr Harris added: “We are hopeful, given the quality of the evidence, that an arrest will be made.”
The bus was driven off from the Deptford depot at 12.39am on Saturday and recovered, burned out, at 2.15am that morning.
A reward for the arrest of anyone involved in the incident is being considered by Go North East.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police, tel: 03456 043043 or Go North East on 422 9297.