THE boss of a bus company has slammed the dangerous actions of a group of 'stone-throwing' youths after bus windows were targeted on Monday evening.

Martijn Gilbert, managing director of Go North East, made the comments after windows on a service bus were smashed in the Church Street area of Houghton-le-Spring.

He told The Northern Echo: "We are working closely with the police and have reported all incidents involving buses to them to help them with their efforts.

“This type of incident is not something that our team members and customers should have to experience.

“It’s extremely dangerous and if it continues, we’ll be forced to remove the service from this area after dark in the interests of driver and passenger safety.”

Launching an investigation last night, Sergeant Simon Marshall of Northumbria Police pledged "robust action" against those responsible for the criminal act.

He said: "An investigation has been launched after we received two reports of criminal damage last night in Houghton-le-Spring.

“On both occasions, a group of youths have thrown stones at the window of bus that was travelling in the Church Street area of the town, causing significant damage.

The Northern Echo: The incident happened in The Broadway area Picture: GOOGLE The incident happened in The Broadway area Picture: GOOGLE

“Intentional acts of criminal damage are totally unacceptable and enquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible. We are committed to taking swift and robust action against anybody found to be involved."

'It will not be tolerated'

Sgt Marshall added: "Officers will be visiting the parents of any young people found to be involved in this type of anti-social behaviour, and are also carrying out school visits over the coming weeks to ensure this message is heard loud and clear.

"Dispersal notices will also be considered in the area to prevent large groups from congregating."

“Through Operation Avalanche, we have already seen some fantastic results in the Hetton and Houghton areas tackling anti-social behaviour, detecting and disrupting crime and offering reassurance to residents.

The Northern Echo: PCSO Louise Robinson, right, and Sergeant Simon Marshall on patrolPCSO Louise Robinson, right, and Sergeant Simon Marshall on patrol

"That work is very much ongoing and we will continue to do all we can to minimise and prevent these types of incidents.

“Uniformed and plain-clothed officers will continue to carry out dedicated patrols in the area, along with our partners at Sunderland City Council, and our message is clear.

"This type of behaviour will not be tolerated and anyone found to have been involved can expect a knock on their door.”