'You're too fat to drive a bus'

John Phillips A 23-stone lorry driver was turned down for a bus driving job after being told he could break the cab seat. Alec Spinks, 29, was told his weight exceeded East London Buses 20-stone limit – 130kg. He said he felt insulted by the remark during a heated i

John Phillips

A 23-stone lorry driver was turned down for a bus driving job after being told he could break the cab seat.

Alec Spinks, 29, was told his weight exceeded East London Buses' 20-stone limit - 130kg.

He said he felt insulted by the remark during a heated interview on Thursday.

Mr Spinks, of Beech Gardens, Dagenham, said: "I feel I have been discriminated against. I've not been given a chance.

"I'm not totally obese. I'm not incapable of doing my job. To turn round to somebody and say you can't do the job because you'll break the seat is ridiculous."

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The bus operator said the interview in Ilford had degenerated and Mr Spinks had become abusive after being told of its weight limit.

The company added that it had imposed its 20-stone limit for "health and safety reasons" and that drivers' weights had caused seats to snap.

A spokesman said Mr Spinks had been abusive after being told he was too heavy for the job, "which is obviously not conducive to the qualities we are looking for in potential bus drivers".

The spokesman added: "We have, in the past, had a very small number of instances where seats have broken and the driver's weight has been found to be a factor. Such an event while driving would pose a health and safety risk."

Alec and full time mum Gemma, 25, are struggling to support their children - Bobby, five, Charlie, two, and eight-month-old Frankie - after he lost his job with E-freight in Rainham.

He added: "Because of the credit crunch they had to let a couple of drivers go at work before Christmas. I got laid off. I have been treated so badly. It's unbelievable."

Transport for London said any weight policy was the responsibility of its bus operators including East London Buses.