POLICE, passengers and a drivers’ union last night condemned the “irresponsible” actions of three youths who jumped onto the back of a moving bus as rush hour approached.

Believed to be in their teens, the three were seen clinging onto the back panel of an Arriva North East bus which was pulling away in Darlington’s town centre on Monday afternoon.

Chief Inspector Sue Robinson of Durham Police said last night: “This is an incredibly irresponsible thing to do – the roads are not a playground.”

The incident happened at about 4.30pm as roads in the town centre started to get busier.

The Oxford Times:

DANGEROUS ACT: Teenagers seen ‘clinging’ onto bus as it pulls away

A passenger onboard the bus said: “People found it hilarious but it isn’t funny it could have had a more serious outcome – all it takes is for someone to get hurt and that is the last thing we need.”

The passenger, who wished to remain anonymous, said the youths travelled a short distance before running off, adding: “Teenagers on bikes followed the bus round and continued to chase the bus as it was leaving town.”

Footage of the incident, near the B&M store on Northgate, showed another bus following closely behind.

The Oxford Times:

John Rutherford, of Darlington, pictured above, said he was shocked by the dangerous act.

He said: “I have seen it all before in other places, but here we are supposed to be civilised.

“I don’t agree with it at all – it’s holding the bus driver responsible for other people’s lives and behaviour. If something was to happen, they would be to blame for it.”

Bob Bolam, regional officer for Unite the union, who was recently involved in negotiations with Arriva North East over a drivers’ pay dispute, said the safety of union members remained a “prime” concern.

He said: “This clip shows highly irresponsible behaviour and what these young people may think is ‘a bit of laugh’ is, in fact, very dangerous.

“Not only could they be endangering their own lives, if they fall off, but the distraction they are creating could have put the bus passengers, driver and other road users at risk.”

Police said enquiries were ongoing.

Chief Insp Robinson added: “We would urge parents to educate their children on the risks and dangers of jumping on the back of buses, and discourage your children from doing it.”

She urged anyone who knows who the youths were to contact police on 101, quoting incident number 273 of February 11.

Arriva North East did not respond to requests for for a comment.