A pensioner was showered with glass when a bus window was shot out inches from his face, possibly by a sniper with a ball bearing gun.

The suspected shooting follows an arson attack where the top deck of a Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company bus was set alight as it travelled through North Street, Brighton, on Saturday.

Darryl Eleazer, 76, was on the number 16 bus in Hangleton Way, Hove, near the junction of Hardwick Road, at 2pm on Monday.

The bus was at a stop when the window exploded.

Mr Eleazer, of Hardwick Road, was wearing a hat, which save his head from being cut, but was badly shaken by the incident.

He said: "There was an almighty bang and then there was glass going all over my head. I thought a bomb had gone off, it was such a loud bang.

"There was another old chap in front of me and my wife Marnie was getting on board.

"The driver said if she had been on board the bus she could have been killed."

The driver called the police, who searched the bus and spoke to people living nearby but could find no evidence that a BB gun had been used.

Mr Eleazer said: "From what I could see I thought it was a ball bearing gun which could have come from the flats opposite the bus stop.

"Somebody could have been blinded. It's lucky the bus only had three people on it."

The passengers spent an hour giving statements to the police and were taken by taxi to their destinations. Roger French, managing director of the bus company, was appalled that another vehicle had been attacked by vandals.

He said: "It was an awful incident. I just hope the police catch whoever was responsible.

"We have had missiles thrown at buses over the years but to have a ball bearing shot through a window at passengers is unusual."

The window was replaced later in the afternoon and the driver was recovering from the incident.

Anybody with information about the attack is asked to call Sussex Police on 0845 6070999.