STAGECOACH will only call the police to deal with West Fife school pupils not wearing face-coverings in "exceptional circumstances".

Children aged five and over travelling on all school transport must wear a covering unless they are exempt on medical grounds.

The Press asked bus companies that serve schools in the West Fife area whether they would report pupils who flouted the rules after a number of readers contacted us expressing concern that youngsters were ignoring instructions on face-coverings.

A Stagecoach East Scotland spokesperson told the Press: "It is extremely important that everybody who is required to wear a face-covering does so every time they board one of our services, and our drivers are playing their part in reinforcing that message.

"We are also working closely with the local authorities to ensure that the schools we serve are helping to get this important message across to their pupils.

"Ultimately, only police forces have the powers to enforce the new regulations by fining those not wearing face-coverings as required.

"We will continue to appeal to all customers to act responsibly and follow the government's rules.

"Under exceptional circumstances, we may need to take further action by involving local police.

"With the increased fines, the support of the police and people themselves becoming more familiar with wearing face-coverings in other settings, we expect to see further improvements in compliance with the rules."

Stagecoach currently caters for more than 20 high schools and primary schools in West Fife.

Fife Council's advice and guidance portal states clearly that: "Children over the age of five travelling on all school transport must wear a face-covering unless they are medically exempt" and the local authority continues to remind pupils and families of the Scottish Government's guidance on the matter.

The Press also asked other school transport providers, Bay Travel, Festival Travel and Merlin Travel whether they would be reporting pupils to Police Scotland if they ignored the face-coverings rule on their services but none of them responded prior to the Press going to print.

A warning was issued recently by First Bus that they would involve the police if students in Glasgow continued to ignore the guidance.

The firm sent a letter to all Glasgow schools and said pupils were putting drivers’ lives at risk and would be reporting them to Police Scotland if “further breaches of the wearing of face-coverings are identified".