Express & Star

'You can't even catch a bus!' – Residents furious over anti-social issues

Residents of an area plagued by anti-social behaviour have asked for more to be done to stop youths attacking their buses.

Ryecroft Cemetery and Coalpool Lane, Walsall - bus services were suspended after youths threw bricks from the cemetery at cars, buses and police cars

Residents of Coalpool Lane, Walsall have asked for police and a council to do more to stop a series of anti-social behaviour attacks on their local number 29 bus service.

The call for action comes following another incident where the bus was again forced to divert from its regular route of travel, and instead using Harden Road and Bloxwich Road.

Jamie Richards, 35, of Walsall, said: "It's shocking, you can't even catch a bus these days without getting some sort of issue.

"It did calm down for a week or two, but it just happened again the other day, the people around here are sick of having to guess if a bus will be diverted or not. Something needs to be done."

The continued issues come after West Midlands Police and Walsall Council increased efforts to reduce the amount of anti-social behaviour incidents in the area, including installing CCTV cameras along the Coalpool Lane section of the route, and working with the council to close the gates of Ryecroft Cemetery earlier in the day.

Stephanie Chambers, 45, of Leamore, said: "It's one of the main bus routes into and out of Walsall, a lot of elderly people rely on it to do their shopping. So when something happens to it, it actually affects a lot of people.

"The thing is, these kids would be livid if someone threw a brick at a bus their family member was on, so why do it to someone else's? It's shocking."

The service has been subjected to a number of similar anti-social behaviour-related issues over the last few months. One incident in particular was seeing youths lying in wait in Ryecroft Cemetery before attacking a bus and also a police car.

Talking to the Express and Star following an incident last week, Inspector Pete Poolton, neighbourhood policing officer for Walsall Local Policing Area, said: "We have worked hard to combat anti-social behaviour and a number of arrests have been made.

"We have worked closely with our partners including Safer Travel and bus company National Express West Midlands and will continue to do so.

"Our officers continue to regularly patrol in the areas where the vehicles are targeted."

Walsall Council has been approached for comment.