Leeds United fans in ‘tirade of racial abuse’ on train to Rochdale match

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Police are appealing for information after a rail passenger was subjected to a “tirade of racial abuse” by a group of Leeds United fans.

The 35-year-old, from Bradford, was on the service from Leeds to Manchester Victoria on Saturday afternoon when she was targeted.

British Transport Police said the train was between Pudsey and Bradford when the incident happened at about 1.20pm – shortly before United’s FA Cup third round tie away at Rochdale.

PC Jo Kellett, who is investigating, said three men who got on at Leeds sat across the aisle from the woman.

“The group then struck up a lighthearted conversation with the victim, mentioning that they were Leeds United fans travelling to Rochdale,” she said.

“The conversation became aggressive and the group unleashed a tirade of racial abuse at the victim leaving her extremely frightened and upset.

“The train was very busy at the time of the incident and we believe a number of people may have witnessed the assault. If you were on board the service at the time, we urge you to come forward as you may have information crucial to our investigation.”

Officers especially want to find a man who spoke to the victim following the abuse, condemned the group’s behaviour and offered to escort her out of the station.

PC Kellett added: “We take all reports of racist behaviour very seriously, and will not tolerate it on the rail network.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact BTP on 0800 405040, quoting reference number NEA/B9 of January 8, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.