Man quizzed over missing bus shelter

A MAN has been arrested in connection with the bizarre disappearance of a brand new bus shelter after witnesses saw it being uprooted by a forklift truck and loaded on to a lorry.

By James Mortlock

A MAN has been arrested in connection with the bizarre disappearance of a brand new bus shelter after witnesses saw it being uprooted by a forklift truck and loaded on to a lorry.

Residents of a quiet Suffolk village were left scratching their heads in wonder after their new bus shelter disappeared within hours of being installed.

The people of Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds were delighted that a new bus shelter had been erected in a windy, exposed corner of the village yesterday, more than a year after it had been ordered.

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The new steel and glass shelter had been specially constructed in Wales and was delivered to the village's Shop Corner on School Lane at 12pm, where contractors working for Suffolk County Council installed it.

But just two hours later, the shelter had gone, before one of the dozen or so buses that pass through the village had had a chance to stop at it or a passenger the opportunity to wait under its canopy.

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One resident, who did not wish to be named said: "I saw the new shelter on my way out, I only went to the Co-op, and when I came back it was gone, I thought I'd dreamed the whole thing."

However, a small number of eyewitnesses saw the shelter being uprooted by a forklift truck and loaded onto the back of a lorry, which was then driven away.

"The whole thing was bizarre," said another of the village's 3,000 strong population, "This bus shelter suddenly being carted off like that, it was like a film or something."

A resident added: "As I walked into the village this morning I saw these workmen putting it up and only a couple of hours later when I walked back it had completely disappeared apart from four metal spikes sticking up out of the ground."

Suffolk County Council had offered the bus shelter to the village as part of a transport action plan in September 2003, and Elmswell Parish Council helped choose the best place to install it, settling upon the corner, because it stands at the edge of a paddock, famous locally for bearing the brunt of the wind and rain which whips across the open land.

It is understood that there had been a dispute with a local landowner, who claimed he owned the pavement, but parish council clerk Peter Dow, said he thought the legalities had been sorted out as far as the county council was concerned and the installation went ahead.

He told the EADT: "I've been contacted by one or two villagers wondering what one earth has been going on, and there was one who thought he had been seeing things, and another who said it was such a shame that no-one had even had a chance to use it."

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: "We are aware that the new bus station has been removed from Elmswell without authorisation and the matter is now in the hands of the police."

Suffolk police later confirmed that a 60-year man, from Elmswell had been arrested and taken to Stowmarket police station for questioning on suspicion of theft and criminal damage in relation to the incident.

They also confirmed that the missing bus shelter had been recovered.

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