A TRAIN passenger ‘launched a torrent of abuse’ and attacked a member of staff with a shopping bag after he was told to take his feet off a seat.
British Transport Police (BTP) is appealing for witnesses after the incident between Crawley and Horsham on Friday March 9.
PC Peter Cooke, the investigating officer, said the man was sat in the first class carriage of a London Victoria to Horsham service at 12.50pm with his feet on the seats when he was approached by a member of staff who politely asked him to put them down.
“The man, who was travelling with a standard class ticket, launched a torrent of abuse when the member of staff asked him to leave first class and move to a standard carriage,” he said. “He then struck the victim on the back with his shopping bag.
“Another passenger, an off-duty police officer, ordered the man to get off the train at Horsham station in a bid to calm the situation.”
Investigators have released CCTV images of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.
Officers have made numerous local enquiries, including circulating the man’s image on several police intelligence systems and amongst officers from local neighbourhood policing teams, but to no avail so far.
PC Cooke added: “It isn’t clear why this man felt he could threaten and intimidate someone who was simply trying to do his job, but we’ll do all we can to track him down.
“Everyone has the right to go to work and carry out their duty without fear of violence or abuse. Although unharmed, the victim was left quite shaken by what took place and we’ll do all we can to track down the person responsible.
“If you recognise the man pictured, or have any information that could assist my investigation, I’d like to hear from you.”
Southern’s Head of Security, Martin Grier said: “This is yet another example of people thinking they have the right to abuse a person just because they are in a customer service role. We are appalled by this act of violence and would ask anyone who has any information about this person to come forward.”
Anyone with information about the incident should contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 and quote reference B10/LSA of 9/5/12. Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.