Teenagers convicted of setting fire to bus


Two youths, who cannot be named for legal reason, have today been given two years each detention and training orders at Birmingham Crown Court after they pleaded guilty to setting fire to and destroying a £180,000 West Midlands Travel bus.

The two teenagers, who were aged 15 and 16 at the time of the offence on 12 June 2014, had got onto the number 2 bus which was travelling to the city centre from Maypole.

As the two defendants got onto the bus, the driver noticed that one of their bus tickets was not valid and instructed them to pay the correct fare. This was paid and the two defendants went up to the upper deck and sat at the back of the bus.

A short time later, the two defendants piled up paper on the seat next to them and set fire to it. They  exited the bus at Stratford Road in Sparkbrook and as the driver was about to pull away from the bus stop, a passenger came down from the upper deck to inform him that there was a fire upstairs.

The driver then immediately stopped the bus and evacuated the passengers.  The fire spread very quickly and filled the top deck with smoke.

An investigation into the fire led to the arrest of the two defendants. One of them, after arrest, expressed contempt for the passengers expressing racial abuse against them although he then made complete admission accepting remorse for his actions.

A 59-year-old man, who again cannot be named for legal reason, was also arrested for perverting the course of justice to which he pleaded guilty to and was also sentenced today to six months imprisonment

Phillip Bird, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"The two defendants went up to the upper deck, sat at the back of the bus and then applied an accelerant to some paper which they then set fire to. This quickly engulfed the upper deck of the bus which then spread to the rest of the vehicle.

"They appeared to find the results of what they had done amusing. This was an extremely childish action which caused £180,000 worth of damage.

"Their irresponsible behaviour not only put the lives of their fellow passengers at a very real risk of losing their lives, but those of the general public too when a moving bus is set on fire. Today they have had to face the consequences for what they have done."