A TEENAGE yob spat on a Brighton bus driver this morning as horrified passengers looked on.

The driver of the 21A bus stopped at St Peter's Church, Brighton, at around 10.25am today when a 17-year-old boy tried to board the bus.

He showed his one-day, scratch-off saver ticket to the driver but kept his finger over the date on the card.

The driver asked him to move his finger and found the ticket was dated Thursday, October 25.

The driver politely asked the boy to pay but was met with a volley of abuse, Brighton & Hove Buses communications manager Marie Sansom said.

The teenager then spat at the driver before getting off the bus and running away.

The drivers' assault screen caught most of the spit but some of it went on the driver's jacket and trousers.

He used the spit kit he had with him, supplied by the company, and this was then sealed and taken to the police for DNA testing.

A Brighton & Hove Buses spokesman said: "Our response car quickly attended the scene and one of the response team drivers took over the drivers' duty, continuing with passengers on board to the Marina, while the driver who had been spat at returned to the Whitehawk Garage."

The bus firm's police liaison officer is currently reviewing CCTV footage of the incident.

Brighton & Hove Buses managing director Martin Harris said: "This is an assault on one of our staff and it is totally unacceptable.

"Just as our passengers deserve to feel safe on our buses, so do our drivers.

"I feel sorry for our driver - who has 15 years' of experience and rarely calls for back up - but also for the passengers who witnessed this behaviour, many of whom were shocked by the level of vitriol directed at our driver.

"While these type of incidents are rare, when they do arise we won't let the perpetrators off the hook."