A ZERO tolerance approach will be taken against yobs who target buses and put the driver and passengers at risk following a spate of attacks in Bury.

Police and transport chiefs have warned they will "act swiftly" to catch those responsible.

In Bury, criminal damage was caused to trams in the borough's tram stations on seven separate occasions and one such incident on a bus as it was travelling through Redvales.

Although the number of attacks targeted at the public transport network is one of the lowest in Greater Manchester, transport bosses warn that it could result in the loss of service.

And only last week police were on patrol at Bury Metrolink in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Police at Bury Metrolink

Police at Bury Metrolink

A total of 49 separate incidents of criminal damage to buses, with many being a result of various objects, including bricks, baseball bats and scooters thrown at moving vehicles were recorded in Greater Manchester.

Sixty-two incidents of criminal damage to the Metrolink network, including 31 incidents of smashed tram windows and 31 incidents of damage to shelters and validators were recorded. Vehicles had to be removed from service following these incidents, reducing the number of trams available to operate on the network.

Now, the Greater Manchester TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) has warned it is taking swift action, reviewing footage to identify those involved and using combined operator intelligence to target patrols in the areas where incidents are most likely to occur.

With most attacks believed to involve teenage youths, the TSP is also carrying out educational work in targeted schools, using driver interviews to reinforce the human impact of the incidents.

Inspector Jon Middleton of GMP's Transport Unit said: "Our Transport Unit and local policing teams are currently investigating these reports and take a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of behaviour that puts our communities at risk.

"Antisocial behaviour on public transport is not acceptable and can have a major effect on other passengers. We will continue to work hard with partners to ensure that people feel safe and can travel without intimidation or feeling threatened by the behaviour of others. I would like to thank the majority of our communities who respect those that help our transport network run and would appeal to everyone to be considerate to others and to continue reporting crime to ourselves."

Incidents recorded in Bolton include the 571 bus having missiles thrown at it in Lever Edge Lane and Swan Lane, Great Lever, the 562 recording criminal damage and anti-social behaviour in Red Lane and Newby Road, Breightmet and threatening behaviour in Bolton Interchange.

The partnership shares data and intelligence and, thanks to bodycams, call points on all trams and stops, over 2000 CCTV cameras across the Metrolink network and a 24/7 control room, is said to help coordinate a quick response to live incidents.

Matt Rawlinson, Diamond Bus North West Deputy Managing Director, said: “As a local bus company, like many other businesses, we are struggling to recover from the financial impact of Covid-19 ­—but we are positive about growing bus services in Greater Manchester and we have continued with our £3.6 million investment in new vehicles.

“The safety of our staff and customers is not a position we want to be in but unless we can work with the community to put a stop to these dangerous acts of vandalism we will have no choice but to remove services when incidents occur.”