Published: 11th January 2024

National Express West Midlands welcomes arrest of arsonists

Bus operator National Express West Midlands has welcomed the arrest of a 20-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy who were detained in Solihull on Monday evening, on suspicion of arson.

The arrest followed a number of recent arson attacks on National Express West Midlands’ 49 bus route, causing significant damage to vehicles and resulting in disruption for bus customers. Luckily nobody was injured.

At approximately 16:45 on Monday (8 January 2024) the driver of a National Express West Midlands 49 service contacted emergency services after two people had attempted to set fire to seats on the top deck of the bus. 

Police officers subsequently carried out a search of the area where the two people had got off the bus and within hours had detained a man and teenager near Shirley Park. 

The 20-year-old man and 17-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of arson and have also been questioned about three other fires that have taken place on National Express West Midlands buses in Solihull over recent weeks. The two have since been released on bail while police continue their enquiries.

Mark Heffernan, Chief Operating and Safety Officer for National Express, said:

“Thanks to our drivers’ immediate actions to help protect our customers, everybody onboard was evacuated safely and nobody was injured during these recent incidents. But this could have easily been a very different outcome. 

“The dangerous and mindless actions of these arsonists have caused significant disruption for our customers and costly damage to our vehicles. It means our customers are without a bus while we repair and replace the vehicles.

“We are grateful for the quick work of the police this week with the arrest of these individuals and will continue to work closely together as the investigations continue.”

Inspector Lee Davies from the Safer Travel Police team, said: 

“The Safer Travel policing team are working closely together with National Express West Midlands and Transport for West Midlands to eradicate this kind of behaviour on public transport and positive action will be taken against anyone committing such acts.  

“Buses provide an essential service to local communities and we want to do everything that we can to create a safe environment where passengers feel safe. Crime, especially when it threatens the safety of others will not be tolerated and I encourage anyone witnessing a crime to report it to the police by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 for non-emergencies.”

In emergencies, always call 999. Alternatively, call 101 or report a crime through the West Midlands Police website:

Information can also be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Media Contacts

Please note, there is a separate communications team for Mobico Group financial and corporate media enquiries.

National Express UK businesses: 
National Express Coach, Dublin Express, National Express Transport Solutions, National Express West Midlands, National Express Coventry & National Express Accessible Transport.

Out of hours press office: 07768 557592 (media enquiries only)

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