Vandals target 8 buses carrying key workers to and from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as Lothian chiefs slam 'appalling' behaviour

Vandals launched bricks at buses transporting key workers to and from Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary Hospital last night, forcing services to be removed.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 12:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 3:45 pm

Eight buses were targeted in the areas of Gilmerton Road and Old Dalkeith Road, between 7.25pm and 8.50pm, resulting in nine broken windows in total.

A number of drivers have been sharing pictures online of the damage done to one bus serving the hospital. The images show a large brick and shards of glass strewn across the floor of the vehicle.

Many commenting on the pictures highlighted that a wheelchair user or a parent with a buggy could have been sitting in the seat inside, and appealed to parents to speak with their children about what they are doing at night.

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Eight buses were targeted in the areas of Gilmerton Road and Old Dalkeith Road, between 7.25pm and 8.50pm, resulting in nine broken windows in total.

Sarah Boyd, Operations Director, Lothian said: “Lothian is absolutely committed to delivering for our customers and I am appalled that our colleagues on the frontline continue to be subjected to such irresponsible and dangerous acts of vandalism.

“I am even more disappointed that the individuals responsible chose to target buses serving the Royal Infirmary Hospital at a time when key workers, who rely heavily on our services, were either starting or finishing their shifts.

“As a direct result of these incidents, we were forced to withdraw our services from this area for a period of time to ensure the safety of our drivers and customers and we will not hesitate to take similar action again if necessary.

“The lasting damage from these reckless acts can be life-changing for everyone involved and we continue to work with Police Scotland to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

It comes after Lothian suspended evening services to Clermiston last weekend after a bus driver was assaulted.

Police said yesterday that five youths from across Edinburgh have been charged in connection with bus related offences. Officers have also engaged with more than 100 young people during the course of the weekend and spoken to them about the dangers of throwing objects at buses.

Sergeant Grant Robertson urged parents and guardians to speak to children under their care about the dangers associated with throwing objects at buses, tampering with the engine compartment and holding onto the rear of the buses while both stationary and in motion.

He added: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Earlier this month, a Lothian bus driver was also injured in Niddrie when the front window was smashed by an object, resulting in shards of glass covering him. A 15-year-old boy was charged in connection with the incident.

In late February, three children were charged with antisocial behaviour and public damages offences in the southwest of the city, after police stepped up patrols on public transport. Those involved were alleged to have smashed a bus window and thrown poo at a staff member.

Operation Proust has been set up following an increase in antisocial behaviour on and around buses in Edinburgh, with a number of buses being damaged. The joint operation between Police Scotland and Lothian Buses aims to educate young people, identify those responsible for the vandalism and to keep staff and passengers safe by tackling disorder and antisocial behaviour.