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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Battle against bus shelter yobs
damaged bus shelter
About 100 bus stops are damaged every week
Every two hours a bus shelter is damaged in the East Midlands.

Vandals daub graffiti on them, smash their glass panels or even set the shelters alight.

In 2002 the repair bill amounted to 200,000 in this region alone.

The workers who are in charge of cleaning up the shelters have nicknamed themselves the "bus shelter police force".

Too bored

Mark Swift, who works for bus shelter maintenance firm Adshel, said: "It's just a regular occurrence every evening.

"It is a variety of youngsters that are bored, older gents that are coming out of the pub, just something to do, smashing the bus shelter up.

"There was one guy in one bus shelter, he actually took off his jumper, wrapped it around his head and actually ran straight into the shelter and put the window through with his head - that's the sort of people that you're up against."

HEAD BUTT
Mark Swift and Darren Crowther
I saw the guy that did it, he actually took off his jumper, wrapped it around his head and actually ran straight into the shelter
Mark Swift

At one bus stop in Mansfield, someone spreads grease on the seats every day.

Staff believe it is a local person trying to deter youngsters from congregating in the shelter.

Despite its vulnerability and repair costs, glass is still used as it is considered safer for waiting passengers.

Mr Swift went on to explain: "We used to put big fibre glass panels in them to stop them breaking but apparently we are not allowed to do that now because people can hide behind the shelters and jump out and attack you.

Job for life

"Everything has to be glass so that you can see what's behind it."

His co-worker Darren Crowther tries to reason why youngsters feel the need to hang around bus stops.

"They shut the youth clubs and they all end up in the bus shelters and they do more writing on the bus shelters than they do in their school books."

However, despite the daily clean-ups the pair think they have a job for life.

Mark Swift said: "It would cost them a fair bit to put CCTV on every shelter we've got so I think we are losing a losing battle."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan
"Dozens of bus shelters are vandalised every week"



SEE ALSO:
Fears over bus drivers' safety
28 Apr 03  |  Nottinghamshire
Concrete slab thrown at bus
21 Feb 03  |  England



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