POLICE officers are appealing for witnesses to a suspected homophobic hate crime which took place on a bus last week.
Police were contacted with a report that a same sex couple were verbally abused while travelling on the number 10 bus from Cheltenham to Gloucester at around 11pm on Saturday (12 March).
Partners Daniel McDonnell and Giles Norton stated they were on the top deck of the bus when they started receiving verbal homophobic abuse from a group of four or five youths.
The group, who made various comments towards the couple, were described as being white, all males, in their late teens and one of them was wearing a black sweatshirt.
The bus driver was alerted to the incident and stopped on Shurdington Road so that the victims could get off and be away from the group of youths.
The couple had been to a drag event, with Daniel dressed in drag, and it is believed this is why they were targeted.
The incident is being treated as a hate crime and County Hate Crime Coordinator PC Steph Lawrence said: “Gloucestershire is a welcoming, friendly and diverse county and we will not tolerate hate in any of its forms. We will work hard to address it, with the help of our partner agencies across the county.
“As a force we have a four-year strategic plan in place to tackle hate, and we encourage all victims of these crimes to come forward and report either to us, or Gloucestershire Victim Support.
“We also encourage people not to be bystanders and report on behalf of others.”
CCTV enquiries are currently ongoing to identify those involved and investigating officers are asking anyone who was on the bus and witnessed what happened to please make contact.
Information can be submitted online by completing the following form and quoting incident 7 of 13 March: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/
Alternatively you can call police on 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/