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France

Wannabe bus drivers rob Paris public transport

media The 81 bus makes its way to Paris's Montparnasse station - with its real driver Eole99/Open access

Impersonating a police officer is already a crime in many countries but it looks as if France may have to legislate against wannabe bus drivers. The Paris region has seen several thefts of buses by aspiring public transport officials this year.

A 32-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday, accused of stealing and driving a bus along routes in the Paris suburbs on four different occasions last November. Although he had no licence, he appears to have convinced passengers he was a real driver.

The man is a repeat offender, having faced similar charges in 2003.

And a 26-year-old will appear in court on 18 March after repeatedly attempting to drive Paris buses, dressed in a bus driver’s uniform.

On 31 December and 4 January he turned up at a depot in the suburb of Neuilly in uniform and tried to convince drivers that he was a trainee who needed to practice.

On the first occasion his poor driving gave him away and the driver took back control of the vehicle.

The second time he was betrayed by the poor state of his uniform and prevented from taking the wheel.

Police managed to track the man down because he, too, had form for similar offences. When summoned to appear at the police station he arrived in the official jacket of the Paris regional transport system.

A search of his home brought to light a second-hand uniform and a transport worker’s pass.

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