EASTBOURNE Buses has sold its coach section so it can 'concentrate on its core business'.

Worthing Coaches has bought Flagship Eastbourne, set up just three years ago to offer day excursions and private hire.

The new owner says everything will remain the same, apart from an addition of more destinations and travel options on offer.

Steve Barnett, managing director of Eastbourne Buses, said, "The Flagship Eastbourne brand and vehicles are being sold to Worthing Coaches.

"Nothing is going to change other than that. They will still run from our yard.

"The business needs a lift and these are the best people to do it. We are bus operators, not coach operators."

Worthing Coaches, part of the Lucketts Travel group, is set to acquire the name and vehicles of Flagship Eastbourne.

A statement from Lucketts said, "The change of ownership will enable Flagship Eastbourne's parent company Eastbourne Buses to concentrate on its core business.

"Set up three years ago to offer day excursions and private hire, the distinctive Flagship Eastbourne livery and name will remain on the coaches and new owner Worthing Travel has pledged to offer customers new and exciting day excursions and holidays."

Worthing Coaches is due to take over the Flagship Eastbourne coaches at the end of March and joint managing director of parent company Steve Luckett said he was delighted to have the opportunity to expand operations on the south coast and introduce new ideas and holiday products to Flagship Eastbourne customers.

Mr Barnett said, "Over the past three years, the Flagship Eastbourne brand has become well known in Eastbourne and the surrounding area for the high standard of excursion and private hire work that is undertaken.

"But as a marginal business for us we have been looking for a high-class operator and specialist in the field to take the brand forward.''

Under the new agreement the coaches will continue to operate from the Eastbourne Buses base in Birch Road with Mark Willis managing the operation.

Mr Willis was manager at Flagship Eastbourne before joining Worthing Coaches last year.