TENS of thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused when suspected joy-riders wreaked havoc after crashing a stolen bus.
Two cars, two vans and three telegraph poles were damaged when a stolen Arriva bus ploughed into the vehicles, causing what fire chiefs describe as “absolute devastation”.
Firefighters had to close the road and warn people about live cables and a risk of electrocution.
A female motorist was involved in a collision with the single-decker bus and treated for shock at the scene.
Garden walls were also damaged during the chaos.
Ian Moore, watch manager at Peterlee Fire Station, who attended the incident in Shotton Colliery, said: “The bus took out a telegraph pole which brought down cables and took out electricity for the whole of the Station Road area.
“Another telegraph pole damaged someone’s car.
“We weren’t sure whether cables trailing along people’s cars were live.”
Police say the bus had been stolen from Peterlee Bus Station.
Two fire crews were called at 10.20pm yesterday and had to wait an hour for an Northern Electric Distribution Ltd (NEDL) electrician to attend the scene.
Firefighters spent a further 40 minutes making the bus safe.
In a separate incident, a crew from the station, along with colleagues from Wheatley Hill Fire Station, cut a 23-year-old Wingate man free from a Peugeot car that had crashed through a fence off the B1280, near Wingate.
The man was taken by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, with suspected back and neck injuries.
The incident happened at 6.20pm.