SMOKE billowed across Oxford Road in Kidlington yesterday after an empty bus caught fire outside Sainsbury’s in Kidlington.

Only the driver was onboard when flames began to take hold of the vehicle’s engine bay at just before 4pm.

Cars had to be diverted away from the area as Thames Valley Police and the fire service tackled the blaze.

Oxford Bus Company, which owns the bus, said there were no passengers onboard as the vehicle was not in service at the time, and South Central Ambulance Service confirmed that it did not need to send any paramedics to the scene.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s said the store and petrol station remained open, but cars were prevented from entering the main car park for 20 minutes while police cleared the scene.

James Dunne, 30, saw the fire as he was driving back through Kidlington to Yarnton.

He said: “It was just off the roundabout heading into Kidlington by the big Sainsbury’s.

“The bus was still on fire when I got there and I have never seen so much smoke. It was covering the road.”

An Oxford Bus Company statement said: “We were advised at around 3.30pm yesterday of smoke coming from the engine bay of one of our vehicles as it travelled towards Kidlington.

“Our driver acted swiftly to call the fire brigade, who attended the scene promptly.

“We will now conduct a full investigation into what took place, and our services are operating to a diversionary route.”