AN out-of-control bus crashed into flats just metres from the depot after a break-in.

The single-decker bus was abandoned across Magdalen Street, Colchester, after the incident yesterday at 12.10am.

The depot is easy to access via a broken wall and it is understood the key had been left in the bus.

A source, who we agreed not to name, said: “The bus came through the compound gates, smashed the padlock off and the vehicle went straight into the building opposite.

“Luckily, it didn’t hit anyone or another vehicle.

“It’s not clear if the bus was driven out or went on its own momentum.”

A bus was stolen from the depot last December and crashed into the boundary wall, which has not been repaired.

First Buses moved its vehicles from Queen Street two years ago after a stolen bus was taken on a 22-mile joyride around the town.

The source says on all three occasions the buses were unlocked and were started with the flick of a switch because they do not have immobilisers.

A spokesman for First Buses said: “We can confirm, as a result of a security breach at our Colchester headquarters, a bus was removed from the depot.

“It was later found, undamaged, in Magdalen Street.

“We treat security issues seriously and all our vehicles are stored in locked premises overnight.

“We are already reviewing our security procedures as a result of the incident and have launched our own internal investigation to establish exactlywhat happened.

“We are working closely with Essex Police to apprehend the perpetrator.”

The firm refused to comment on claims buses are left unlocked and are easy to start.

A businessman in Magdalen Street, who refused to be named, said: “It is unbelievable. This street should be monitored by cameras because there are a lot of incidents.”

Police are investigating the break-in. Anyone with information can