'Thatcher's armour-plated battle bus' sells for £17k

The bus went under the hammer last night Credit: J.P. Humbert Auctioneers Ltd.

An armour-plated bus believed to have been used by Grantham-born "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher has sold for nearly £17,000.

The 17-tonne "battle bus" is thought to have been built in the 1980s for the former prime minister's Northern Ireland tour.

It went under the hammer last night and beat the estimate of £10,000, selling for £16,940 to a vehicle collector.

Jonathan Humbert, of Northamptonshire-based JP Humbert Auctioneers, said: "There was immense interest in the bus. It sold to a spontaneous round of applause in the sale room."

The bus, which has 28,000km (17,398 miles) on the clock, has a blast-proof floor and armour-plated glass, as well as a bomb-proof armour-plated body, Mr Humbert said.

It was also thought to be chemical, biological and nuclear-proof - once having its own auxiliary generator and air supply.

The interior of the bus Credit: J.P. Humbert Auctioneers Ltd.