Exmouth police hunt man who took bus for a joyride

Can you help police identify this man captured on CCTV images taken from a bus that was stolen from the Exmouth depot? Phone 101, quoting crime reference KE/11/3077.

Police are hunting a balding joy rider who took a double-decker bus from Exmouth and dumped it two miles down the road at a Lympstone pub.

Exmouth detectives are appealing for public help in tracing the culprit, captured on this CCTV image from the interior camera inside the vehicle.

Detective Constable Blain Bishop said the Stagecoach bus was taken from the Exmouth bus depot at 3.15am on Saturday, November 26, and recovered from the Saddlers Arms pub car park, on the A376 at Lympstone.

DC Bishop said: “I am sure somebody in the local community knows this man. I would urge them to come forward and provide us with the information.

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“Clearly, buses don’t run at that time of night, so this male has taken it upon himself to take the bus.

“Maybe there were taxi drivers or other people around at that time who may have seen the bus being driven along the road without lights, or in suspicious circumstances.

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“If they did see it, I would like those people to come forward to speak to police, as I am sure he will be identified.”

Police said the joy rider spent some time figuring out how to start the bus before driving the vehicle the wrong way out of the Exmouth depot.

The vehicle’s CCTV images show the mature man scrabbling a hand over the vehicle’s consol panel.

The man, who has a bald head with grey hair over his ears, was wearing a dark-coloured v-neck button long-sleeved top and dark trousers.

He is then caught on camera, driving slowly out of the bus station and onto the road.

The bus interior lights and headlights were not switched on. The police said the move could have been deliberate to avoid detection.

The CCTV images show the man rub his chin several times, as though deep in concentration, as the vehicle heads down the A376 towards Lympstone.

Several times he can be seen looking in anguish at the open bus door, while trying to negotiate the bus control panel.

The police believe he was attempting to close the doors and possibly navigate the light switch.

The images also show him successfully turn on the bus lights, only to remove them once the bus nears the Saddlers Arms car park.

The police said the bus was not damaged during the incident.

DC Bishop said: “It’s been driven with some skill. It would appear from the male’s actions he had some knowledge and that he had experience of how to drive similar vehicles.”

? If you can help identify the man, contact the police on 101, quoting crime reference KE/11/3077.

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