RESIDENTS were today counting the cost after a stolen bus left a trail of destruction in their quiet street.
People living in Marcia Avenue, Shotton Colliery, were left in a state of shock after a single-decker Arriva vehicle ploughed into their cars, garden walls and brought down two telegraph poles, leaving them without power.
Police said the unoccupied bus was stolen from Peterlee Bus Station before being driven three miles to Shotton.
Firefighters closed the road as there were fears people could be in danger of electrocution from live electricity cables.
A woman was treated for shock after the bus collided with her car.
A row of about 10 households were affected by the chaos.
One side of the road was cordoned off with traffic cones and two telegraph poles were laid in the gutter.
A Suzuki Alto, a Ford Fiesta, a Nissan Primastar, a Fiat Doblo, a Citroen Xsara, a Citroen Synergie and a Vauxhall car were damaged.
The bus finished up in mum-of-one Doreen Gustard’s garden, damaging her wall, block paving, the canopy on the front door and narrowly missing her front window.
She said was lucky to have escaped injury, as she was sitting in an armchair by the window just minutes before the crash.
Mrs Gustard, who is married to John, said: “It’s just total devastation. I heard a bang and saw a lot of lights. I looked outside and said to my husband ‘there’s a bus in the garden’.”
Grandfather-of-five Thomas Drysdale, 82, a retired teacher whose garden wall was damaged, said: “I was watching TV and there was a bang.
“I was really scared to come out of the house, I was wondering what on earth had hit the house.
“I thought it was a meteor or a plane or something like that. But it was a bus.”
A 40-year-old woman, who didn’t want to be named, thought her Suzuki Alto – bought last month – and her son’s Ford Fiesta had escaped damage when the incident happened at about 10.15pm on Tuesday.
But at 11.45pm, an unstable telegraph pole toppled on to the cars.
“It’s unreal,” she said. “Cars will repair – it’s the other people down the street I feel sorry for.”
A 17-year-old youth has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of aggravated taking a vehicle without consent. Police also want to speak to a 20-year-old man in relation to the incident.
Officers want to speak to a middle-aged man with a grey beard, who was wearing a green duffle coat, who they believe may have seen the bus being stolen.
Witness who were near Peterlee Bus Station at 10pm are asked to call CID on 0345 606 0365, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.