DEVON County Council has started unannounced spot checks on school buses operated by Carmel Coaches.

Independent vehicle examiners inspected buses and coaches at the company’s depots in Exeter and Northlew last week.

No major defects were found and no vehicles have had to be taken off the road.

It followed the decision last week by the Traffic Commissioner to revoke Carmel Coaches’ licence from July 31, a decision against which the company has said it will appeal.

About 22 vehicles the company owns have now been checked, with over half found to have no defects.

Minor defects picked up include a side indicator bulb not working, reverse light not working, a twisted seat belt, an old seatbelt buckle which had been left in place, a defective dashboard light, a broken plastic seatbelt buckle cover, a small crack in the windscreen and a blocked windscreen washer.

All of these defects were not serious and all were immediately rectified by the company.

Cllr James McInnes, Devon County Council cabinet member for Young People, said: “It must be remembered that all bus and coach companies are subject to an ongoing inspection regime by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in order to retain their operators’ licence, and the county council only uses licenced operators.”