Vandals smash up the only bus to be stranded in South Yorkshire floods

The only bus to be abandoned in South Yorkshire as the floods took hold was pounced on overnight by 'mindless vandals' who smashed virtually every window on the vehicle, it has emerged.

Sunday, 10th November 2019, 2:13 pm
Updated Sunday, 10th November 2019, 9:09 pm

The single-decker bus, operated by First, had to be left in deep water on Friday morning in Rotherham at Bradmarsh Way, which runs through an industrial estate and is close to the River Rother.

Bosses assumed it would be safe until it could be towed away - but by yesterday the stranded vehicle had been wrecked, with nearly every pane of glass broken in.

Daryll Broadhead, operations manager for First South Yorkshire, said repairs would cost thousands and that he was 'bitterly disappointed'.

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Nearly all of the windows were smashed on the stranded bus.

"We did really well on Thursday night getting everybody home," he said. "We didn't withdraw a service, we kept them running. We've got an obligation. It took me four-and-a-half hours to get home from Sheffield to Rawmarsh.

"On Friday morning we were met with several roads closed. This driver wasn't aware of the depth of the water, tried to go through it but got stuck so he left his vehicle. The tow wagon came out but it was quite deep. He said he'd pick it up in the morning."

There were no passengers on the bus when it was abandoned, Mr Broadhead said.

"Unfortunately, overnight mindless vandals smashed every window on the bus. Despite our best efforts over the last couple of days it's cost us thousands of pounds to repair the damage to that. It's out of action until we can order glass and get it fitted.

"It's a relatively industrial area, we were reasonably confident it was still going to be there in the morning but when we returned we were bitterly disappointed to find the extent of the damage."

He thinks it is unlikely the culprits will be found.

"We have got CCTV, but it was dark and happened overnight so it's highly unlikely. Police are fully aware but they are particularly stretched at this current time, as you can imagine. I think all emergency services have struggled over the last couple of days."

The flooding - caused when a month's rain fell in 24 hours from 3am on Thursday - has caused chaos and tragedy in the North.

In Derbyshire the county's former High Sheriff, Annie Hall, was killed when she was swept away by the River Derwent near Matlock. In South Yorkshire railway lines and roads have been submerged, homes have been evacuated, schools were shut and shoppers were stranded in Meadowhall as the relentless rain came down.

The River Don has hit its highest recorded level, even more swollen than it was during the disastrous floods of 2007. 'Danger to life’ warnings are in place on the river in and around Doncaster, where the village of Fishlake has been particularly badly affected.

More downpours are forecast in the coming days.

Mr Broadhead said his drivers had gone 'above and beyond', especially on Thursday as the relentless rain fell.

"We're really pleased we managed to get people home," he said. "There were people on buses from Meadowhall for over three hours but we battled through. We've got a duty of care, we take thousands of people every day. Acts of vandalism are really disappointing, and a challenge sometimes that I don't think the general public understand."

Drivers shared their phones with stuck passengers to allow them to ring partners and loved ones, Mr Broadhead said.

"People's batteries go flat and things like that, don't they? Then the drivers have to get home themselves. By the time we finish at the end of service it's 1am - and then at half past three on Friday morning I've got staff coming in to start again."