An irate passenger who grabbed the steering wheel of a bus and crashed it as a protest over ‘bad driving’ has been jailed.

Stephen Allan was so unhappy with the way the McGill’s bus was being driven on the journey from Paisley to Barrhead that he reached into the driver’s cab.

He then pulled the steering wheel to the left, causing the bus to leave the road and crash through a fence next to Kersland Primary School.

The vehicle came to a halt in a field next to the school, after veering off Paisley’s Hurlet Road, causing more than £16,000 worth of damage.

Allan, the driver and the other passengers escaped from the crash relatively unscathed.

The details emerged last week when 37-year-old Allan appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court to admit his guilt over the incident on December 30, 2017.

He admitted a charge of culpable and reckless conduct by reaching into the cab, grabbing the steering wheel and causing the bus to crash, leading him to “place those travelling on said bus and also pedestrians at the locus in danger of serious injury or death.”

Procurator fiscal depute Fiona Holligan said Allan and his fiancée got on the bus in Paisley town centre at about 9pm on the night in question.

She added: “At about 9.20pm, the accused approached the driver. He was angry and confronted the driver, stating he was ‘going a bit too fast over the speed bumps back there.’

“The driver believed the accused to be under the influence of something.”

It was stated that the driver pulled in on Hurlet Road to let Allan’s fiancée off but Allan stayed on board.

Mrs Holligan said: “He reached over and grabbed the steering wheel and pulled it hard to the left, causing the bus to leave the carriageway, mount the pavement, crash through a mental fence at the school, narrowly missing a lamp-post and several trees, before it came to rest in a field.”

Allan managed to flee while the driver contacted the police. He was later tracked down after a public appeal to find him.

Defence solicitor Terry Gallanagh said Allan had written a letter describing his actions as “the single most stupid, reckless, dangerous and irresponsible” thing he had ever done.

The lawyer added that Allan was drunk at the time of the incident and had lost his job as a result of being remanded in custody.

Sheriff Colin Pettigrew jailed Allan for 27 months, reduced from 40 months as he had admitted his guilt.

As he did so, the sheriff added: “I don’t think I can do anything other than agree with you – it was stupid, reckless, dangerous and irresponsible.

“The court has to mark the offence with a custodial disposal. There can be no other disposal.”