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Man who spat at bus driver after being asked to wear face mask sought by police

Police have released a CCTV image of the man they wish to question over the ‘unacceptable’ incident

A bus driver was spat at and hurled with abuse after challenging a passenger who was not wearing a face mask.

The incident took place on a number 83 bus near Wembley in north-west London at around 10.40pm on Friday (27 August), the Metropolitan Police said.

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While face masks are no longer required to be worn by law on public transport after the remaining Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted in England on 19 July, they are, however, required as a “condition of carriage” on Transport for London (TfL) services.

As such, passengers can be denied access to TfL services, or ejected, if they fail to wear a face covering and do not have a valid exemption.

‘Unacceptable’

Police said the male passenger had agreed to put on a mask when he was asked by the driver as he boarded, but failed to do so when he sat down on the upper level.

When the bus stopped at Lakeside Way, the man was told he would have to get off the bus if he refused to wear a mask.

The man then began shouting at the driver and spat in his direction, hitting the glass on the front door window.

Police have now released an image of the man they wish to question, describing the incident as “unacceptable”.

Pc Matt Cannon, from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “Bus drivers have worked throughout the pandemic at great risk to themselves, providing an essential service to key workers and others who rely on public transport to get around.

“Any assault against a driver doing their job is unacceptable, but spitting, given the threat posed by Covid-19 and what we know about how it is transmitted, is particularly appalling.

“We have been pursuing alternative lines of inquiry to identify this man, but so far it has not been possible to locate him.

“I’m hopeful the public hold the key to finding out who and where he is.”

Do you recognise this man? (Photo: Metropolitan Police / SWNS)

Appeal for help

Police are now appealing to members of the public to come forward with any information about the identity of the man.

Anyone who can help identify the man shown in the CCTV footage are urged to call the Met on 101, providing the reference 1908495/21.

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