Driver of school bus `in 80-mile detour'

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A BUS driver has been charged with false imprisonment after a group of children were allegedly taken on an 80-mile detour before being dropped off at school, police said yesterday.

A 51-year-old driver was questioned after children complained they had been taken on a two-and-half-hour ride instead of the normal 10-minute trip to Manor High School in Wednesbury, West Midlands.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said the charge related to an incident on Monday morning when 14 children, aged 13 and 14, were picked up from the Hawthorns estate in West Bromwich.

"It is alleged the children were driven around the West Midlands to Stourbridge, Stourport and Bridgnorth before being taken to school in Wednesbury," the spokesman said.

"The children were not injured but were very traumatised by the alleged incident."

The man, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, has been bailed to appear before West Bromwich magistrates on 28 September.

Travel West Midlands, which runs the school bus service, has launched an investigation in conjunction with the police.