Police to investigate coach incident

Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire

UPDATE: Portsmouth-London train line reopened after ‘significant damage’ to railway

Have your say

POLICE are to look into claims that two drivers swapped seats at 60mph while taking a coachload of fans to a Pompey game.

Portsmouth FC’s stadium manager Derek Stone reported the alleged incident after being contacted by concerned supporters.

As reported in The News, fans told how one driver got up while holding the wheel and another took his place on the 50-seater Vision Travel coach. It swerved and passengers said it almost ended up in a ditch on the A34 near Newbury en route to Pompey’s clash at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Vision Travel – Pompey’s official transport partner – sent another driver to Middlesbrough’s Riverside stadium to take over the return journey and suspended the two drivers involved.

Mr Stone said: ‘Obviously supporters who were travelling on the coach have notified the club. Having listened to what they are saying I have contacted the police and asked if they would conduct an investigation.

‘They are appointing an investigating officer from the Roads Policing Unit. As a club we have the interests of our supporters at heart. We want to make sure that not only attending our matches but also away matches they can attend these matches in safety and get home in safety. If what’s being alleged has occurred it is a serious matter.’

Pompey fan John Andrews, 49, of Passfield Walk, West Leigh, was travelling on the coach with his three sons when the incident took place. He said: ‘Everyone was frightened. We were in the middle [of the coach]. I saw the driver get out of the seat to change over with the other driver.

‘It took a matter of seconds before the other driver got in. At the time the coach had swerved.’

He added: ‘It took the other driver a few seconds to control the vehicle. The driver walked past me – I swore at him. He said: “It wasn’t my fault”. He had to go to the toilet.’

PC Mick Brown, Hampshire Constabulary football liaison officer, said: ‘I have spoken to the Roads Policing Unit who are going to investigate. We are not sure where on the A34 it was but they are going to look into it – and they can investigate even if it is outside Hampshire.’

Vision Travel declined to comment for ‘legal reasons’.