A SMOKER who sparked a bomb alert on a bus with his E-cigarette has told how fellow passengers treated him suspiciously because he is dark skinned.
Scot Chris Barron is half-Mexican, and he thinks fellow passengers called police fearing he was a terrorist because he has a beard and slightly dark skin.
Despite the fact he never even puffed the device, fellow passengers on the x77 bus from Glasgow to Ayr believed Chris was about to detonate a bomb.
After the driver halted the bus on the M77, police moved to shut down the motorway on Friday night for an hour.
Last night Chris, who is a singer with a local rock band, said: “I realise we are living in a sensitive world but if someone had asked what I was doing with the E-cigarette we could have avoided this massive drama.
“I was re-wicking the device and I had opened the bottle containing vanilla flavour. I wasn’t going to puff it. I had my earphones in and I could hear a woman saying she felt unwell and that there was a strange smell.
“I was wondering if they might be talking to me but nobody said anything. The driver asked us all to get off the bus near Newton Mearns and we stood in the freezing cold and rain for at least 45 minutes while the police came and investigated.
“I had left my bag on the bus and police were asking what was in it. I eventually showed the vape and they were very apologetic. They said they had to err on the side of caution.
They laughed and shook their heads. Told me I hadn’t done anything wrong so not to worry about it and apologised. Took my name and told everybody to get back on the bus.
“I’ll say for the record these officers were sound about the whole thing so kudos to them.”
Bearded Chris, 25, is half Scottish, half Mexican and he fears fellow passenger panicked because of his appearance and the fact he had a backpack with him.
The musician, who plays bass and sings in ska/punk band The Hostiles, said: “I don’t think I look much like a terrorist but somebody must have thought otherwise.”
Passenger Calum McGregor, who raised the alarm, and asked the driver to stop, insisted their suspicions were justified.
He said: “My partner and I became aware of a passenger behaving suspiciously with a device in his lap.
“I got up under the pretence of looking for the toilet and saw he appeared to be attaching pipe-cleaner wire to a large oblong battery.
“I alerted the driver of a possible bomb on board and asked him to quietly pull over and call the police.
“It turned out that the passenger had been cleaning out a large E-cigarette device with no thought to what that looked like to others on the bus – resulting in a lot of concern and fear, passengers stuck outside for 40 mins off the motorway with no shelter in a storm, motorway closure and police time wasted.”
Police confirmed they had responded to reports of a man “acting suspiciously” and confirmed it was a false alarm “in good faith”.