POLICE have identified more than a dozen youngsters who were responsible for a spate of vandalism and attacks on buses earlier this year.

Durham Police, working with Darlington Borough Council and Arriva, have identified nine boys and four girls who were responsible for missile attacks and anti-social behaviour on buses in and around Darlington.

The attacks led to some services being cancelled and saw Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) placed on buses to catch those responsible.

CCTV film footage and a social media campaign was used to identify the youngsters, all aged between 12 and 16, and home interviews were carried out.

Those caught were all encouraged to take part in restorative justice by helping clean the bus shelters.

As a result, the council said incidents on the buses had reduced substantially with only one reported since June.

This is compared to 46 reports of anti-social behaviour between January and May, as well as 16 reported incidents of criminal damage to buses and shelters across Darlington, which cost more than £25,000 to repair.

Councillor Nick Wallis, the council's cabinet member for leisure, local environment and transport, said: “Anti-social behaviour is an issue in many towns and cities and it is something that we are determined to tackle here in Darlington, with the help of our partners and the community.

“While problems on bus services are rare, there was a spate of them earlier in the year which prompted this latest initiative.

"We will, of course, continue to work together to tackle any further issues as and when they arise.”

Cllr Cyndi Hughes, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Working together we’ve not only been able to identify those responsible, but have been able to work with the young people to help them understand the impact of their actions, encourage them to give something back to the community and offer support to help prevent them re-offending.”

Durham Police Inspector Chris Knox, said: “Community intelligence has led us to identify the offenders and then joint action between the council, Arriva, the Youth Offending Service and the police has resulted in a positive outcome."

Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North East said: “The simple facts are anti-social behaviour on buses is rare – in Darlington, for example, we made over 200,000 journeys in June with one incident of anti-social behaviour.

"But that is one too many and we have a zero tolerance approach to this behaviour."