A Preston bus boss claims his employees are being intimidated by staff from a rival bus firm.

Managing director of Preston Bus, Peter Bell, claims that staff from Stagecoach have been taunting his workers, telling them they will soon be out of work.

It comes after a bus war was started when National operator Stagecoach launched services on routes operated by Preston Bus.

Mr Bell said: "Stagecoach managers have been telling our drivers that they will be out of work in a few weeks time because they'll take over all the services."

Stagecoach bosses have denied these claims.

Managing director of Stagecoach North West, Chris Bowles, said: "We absolutely and totally deny that any managers or supervisors would do anything like this, they have been instructed to act professionally at all times. Our staff know they cannot gain anything from acting in this manner but of course I can't account for everyone that works for us so I'm happy to investigate any claims of misconduct."

However, Mr Bell said he would not be intimidated and all services would continue to run as normal.

He added: "We have loyal customers and we will carry on operating as per usual. We are competing with them effectively and we are just about to start a new service to Penwortham, so everything is going well and our workers have nothing to worry about."

Stagecoach is due to bring in two new routes from the city centre to Royal Preston Hospital, via Deepdale Road and Plungington Road, next week and is also introducing a service to Tanterton in August.

l The region's senior traffic official Beverley Bell has said she will monitor the ongoing battle between the two firms.

The traffic commissioner has said she will not hesitate to act if the "bus war" escalates.