A bus company has been given a formal warning by licence bosses over its sloppy punctuality.

First Essex Buses was held to account at a public inquiry led by the Traffic Commissioner.

Poor punctuality, frequent breakdowns, irregular services and missing buses were among the litany of complaints directed at the national company.

First Essex had faced losing its licence to operate routes across the county altogether.

Other sanctions it avoided included being forced to reduce the number of vehicles in operation, having the licence suspended, or a fine.

Former Chelmsford Borough councillor Bill Horslen, began compiling complaints against the company when he ran as a county council candidate in the 2013 elections.

Residents also made a catalogue of documents containing complaints and details of meetings held with management teams, said to have spanned over 15 years.

Mr Horlsen, a retired bus driver, posted his case to The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) months ago and the inquiry was launched last month as a result.