UPDATE: Coach driver speaks out after bank protest

Police cordened off the area. Photo by Mick Vincent
Police cordened off the area. Photo by Mick Vincent

A driver mounted a town centre pavement and parked his coach outside a bank in a ‘silent protest’ after having his account ‘closed without notice’.

Police cordoned off The Boulevard in Crawley after the 51-seater vehicle pulled up on pathway outside NatWest, blocking the entrance yesterday afternoon (June 18).

Mumtaz Rasool said he carried out the stunt as his ‘stress had reached such a level that forced him to act’.

He said: “Given we are a small business and have built up our reputation over 20 years, we can not survive without our bank account as we have monies coming in and out of the account on a daily basis and need the funds to pay for multiple suppliers and drivers.

“I have been going into the bank on a daily basis and have spent numerous hours on the phone trying to find out what has happened.”

The 55-year-old said he has been banking with NatWest for 13 years.

Without the account he said he was not able to run the business with drivers and staff not being paid and no funds to pay suppliers.

“The bank kept saying they would help but nothing happened and this morning again they said that they could not locate the account and the bank manager would not help or talk to me,” he said.

“As a small business we can not survive without our bank account for even a day, yet a week down the line we do not have any answers and are still completely in the dark. We can not receive any monies into the account and we can not pay suppliers which is catastrophic to our business reputation, which we’ve built up over 20 years.”

Stunned shoppers watched as the coach drove onto the pavement at about 1.20pm.

No-one was injured but the bank was forced to close as police taped off the area around the vehicle.

Mumtaz said: “I am not sorry for my actions, my intentions were not to scare or frighten anybody, if I did so I apologise for that. My intentions were to block the door of the bank to stop them operating.

“Why should they be able to operate when I can’t? I am a small company standing up for the rights for small businesses who go through this day in day out.”

A spokesman for NatWest said: “Fortunately no one was hurt in the incident and the branch has since reopened.

“Police attended the scene and we are cooperating with them in their investigation. If customers have any concerns they can contact us via telephone banking or they can visit the branch.”

United Cars taxi/private hire company have asked us to make it clear that they are not linked to the company which owns the coach.

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