A BUS driver has avoided a jail term and kept his job after assaulting a driver from a rival company.

Nigel Taylor, a driver at GHA Coaches, pleaded guilty to one count of grievous bodily harm after the incident in which a Network Warrington driver sustained facial injuries at Northwich bus station at around 1.45pm on September 6.

Taylor, aged 56, of Crescent Road, Ellesmere Port, was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay compensation of £2,500 as well as court costs of £1,500 at Chester Crown Court on April 22.

Stephen Bryce, general manager at GHA, said: “I am aware that following an incident in Northwich Bus Station on September 6 between one of our drivers and an employee from one of our competitors that our driver was arrested and that following his appearance in court he has received a suspended sentence, a fine and community service.

“Although he remains in our employment he has been dealt with through our company disciplinary procedure and the company is assisting him through his rehabilitation.

“The driver is now used on duties that do not require an enhanced DBS check and he has no direct unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults.

“Following this incident the company has now reviewed its recruitment and disciplinary processes.

“The company has made the local authorities who we undertake contracts aware of this matter and has also been in dialogue with The Office of the Traffic Commissioner to keep them updated.”

In October another driver at GHA, who was employed despite wearing a tag, was jailed for four months for punching a motorist 10 times.

A spokesman for Network Warrington said: “Network Warrington confirm that the health and safety of its employees is of paramount importance and reiterate that any assault or other inappropriate actions towards its employees will not be tolerated.

“The company is grateful to the police and CPS for pursuing what was an unacceptable assault on one of its drivers.

“Such incidents have no place within a professional or public environment and the actions of the individual concerned were completely unacceptable and should not have occurred.

“The company and its employee are pleased with the outcome of the hearing and believe that justice has been served.”

The victim required hospital treatment for his injuries.