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Russian pulls out of buying Margaret Thatcher’s armoured battle bus after Skripal poisoning

A Russian buyer planning to snap up Margaret Thatcher’s armoured bomb-proof bus, which could withstand nuclear, chemical and biological attacks, has ditched the plans because of the Salisbury poisoning.

The Iron Lady’s hi-tech coach is thought to have cost £4million when it was built in the aftermath of the Brighton bombing and attacks from the IRA in the early 1980s.

The Cold War-era vehicle has a 12-litre Rolls Royce engine and can speed along at 80mph – despite weighing just under 20 tonnes, nearly three times that of a single decker coach.

It was set to be shipped over to buyers in Russia for £25,000 after being sold by website Tanks-Alot.co.uk, which first advertised it in 2015.

But the sale fell through in the wake of the nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4, which the British Government says was carried out by the Russian state.

A Russian buyer planning to snap up Margaret Thatcher’s armoured bomb-proof bus, which could withstand nuclear, chemical and biological attacks, has ditched the plans because of the Salisbury poisoning

The bus is not for turning: The Cold War-era vehicle has a 12-litre Rolls Royce engine and can speed along at 80mph. Pictured: Thatcher with her husband Denis in 1987 on a different vehicle that was being sold to a Russian buyer

The bus is not for turning: The Cold War-era vehicle has a 12-litre Rolls Royce engine and can speed along at 80mph. Pictured: Thatcher with her husband Denis in 1987 on a different vehicle that was being sold to a Russian buyer

Tank enthusiast Nick Mead, 57, said: ‘People in Russia were buying it for £25,000.

‘It was sold before the Novichok attack in Salisbury but then that collapsed.

‘We were talking on Skype through a translator but then it tailed off in March, about three days after the poisoning.

‘I’m not really sure what they wanted it for.

‘It might be classed as a military armoured vehicle which could make exporting it a problem at the moment.’

The bus, which resembles a civilian coach with the name Richard Oliver emblazoned on the side, has bullet-proof glass two inches thick and only 28,000 miles on the clock.

It has an auxiliary, roof-mounted motor that could pump clean, carbonised air to the sealed cabin in the event of a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon being deployed. 

Strength: The bus can carry about 35 passengers and features a blast-proof floor and armour-plated glass throughout, as well as a bomb-proof armour-plated body

Strength: The bus can carry about 35 passengers and features a blast-proof floor and armour-plated glass throughout, as well as a bomb-proof armour-plated body

It was set to be shipped over to buyers in Russia for £25,000 after being sold by website Tanks-Alot.co.uk, which first advertised it in 2015

It was set to be shipped over to buyers in Russia for £25,000 after being sold by website Tanks-Alot.co.uk, which first advertised it in 2015

But the sale fell through in the wake of the nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4, which the British Government says was carried out by the Russian state

But the sale fell through in the wake of the nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4, which the British Government says was carried out by the Russian state

Mr Mead, who owns a tank yard in Helmdon, Northants, said the coach had previously been used by scientists who sat inside it to watch experiments from the sterile environment. 

The 36-seat bus was once owned by the Metropolitan Police, and Mr Mead believes there may still be interest from foreign buyers.

‘I think that as relations between the UK and Russia got worse and worse, the buyers felt reluctance to pay a big deposit for it and apply for licences to take it there,’ he said.

‘I think that is why it has slowed right down, especially as tensions have escalated, kicking diplomats out, and the Syria thing.

‘I think they were wary about transporting the vehicle from the UK to Russia.’

Mr Mead described it as a ‘defensive weapon,’ rather than an offensive one and suggested it could be used as a schoolbus in Israel.

But said he was not going to sell it to anyone who seemed to want to tarnish Maggie’s memory.

‘It is like selling a puppy,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t sell it to the Anarchist Federation.’



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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