Villagers are demanding a better bus service after numerous no-shows and delays left people stranded.

The latest person to become stuck in Coggeshall was 85-year-old William Tilyard, who had celebrated his birthday with family and had intended to catch the number 70 on to get back home to Braintree.

By 8.30pm the bus had still not arrived, despite being scheduled for 7.56pm, and First Essex has since confirmed it was cancelled due to staff shortages.

His daughter Jane Sharp said: “It’s just appalling.

“You can’t even get hold of them.”

Dave Smith, staff manager at First Essex’s Braintree depot, said: “Unfortunately the service 19:20 service from Colchester which was due to arrive in Market Hill, Coggeshall, at 19:56 did not run on Thursday, March 13, due to staff shortages.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused."