A THUG bit a York bus driver in a violent and unprovoked assault.

The driver, a 56-year-old man, was driving a Number 4 bus near Green Lane in Acomb when he was attacked by a passenger at 10.25am yesterday, police said.

The attacker had got on the bus near the railway station just before 10am.

First Bus’s business manager in York, Will Pearson, said: “This is an absolutely horrendous incident and we are clearly appalled by it.

“A young man had clearly had a bit to drink and fell asleep on the bus. The driver woke him at the terminus in Acomb and the passenger initially got off, but returned to the bus when he realised he was not at the point in Acomb he expected to be.

"Then, completely unprovoked, he attacked the driver.”

The victim, an ex-soldier who has worked for the company for a number of years, was left with a black eye, scratches on his face and a bite mark on his torso, Mr Pearson added.

“This is very unusual for a city like York and it has taken me, my colleagues, and the driver by surprise.

“We hope the man will be identified and in due course the police will prosecute.”

While most buses in York have CCTV Mr Pearson said he did not believe this bus was fitted with cameras. But, he added, the company is hopeful the attacker will have been caught on CCTV getting on the bus in the city centre.

The driver was treated at York Hospital and discharged yesterday afternoon. First Bus staff had been with the driver in the afternoon after the attack and said he was “in good spirits”.

Police have issued a description of the attacker and are appealing for help to find him. A force spokesman said: “This was a shocking and wholly unprovoked attack, which has left the victim understandably very shaken.

“Anyone who can help the police investigating this should contact us as soon as possible.”

The suspect is a young man believed to be in his late teens or early 20s. He is described as white, with short dark hair. He was wearing jeans and a dark blue hooded top, and was carrying a purple JD Sports Bag.