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Texting about chanting

by Mark Rowe

After allegations of racist chanting on a train between Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield rail stations, British Transport Police (BTP) officers are appealing for information. BTP officers want to hear from anyone with information to assist their investigation into the incident on Saturday, 20 April.

It is believed the group involved was travelling back to Sheffield, having watched a football match at a pub or bar in Manchester, where they later boarded the train.

Officers met the train at Sheffield station after a passenger used the Force’s new non-emergency text number – 61016 – to complain about a group of men singing racist chants on the 21:20 Manchester Piccadilly service.

A number of people on the service, which arrived into Sheffield at 10.08pm, were spoken to by officers, while a 17-year-old boy from Sheffield was arrested on suspicion of committing a racially-aggravated public order offence. He has been released on police bail, pending further enquiries, until June.

Any witness is asked to get in touch. Detective Constable Ian Grice, leading the investigation, said: “For the passengers subjected to the chanting on the train, this was no doubt a frightening and intimidating experience. We take allegations of antisocial behaviour, racial intolerance and football-related disorder on the rail network very seriously and the passengers did completely the right thing in contacting police.

“Staff and passengers, as well as law-abiding fans, are entitled to travel on trains without having to worry about the actions of a small minority of people who fail to conduct themselves properly.

“If you were onboard and saw or heard what took place, we want to hear from you.”

DC Ian Grice also highlighted the passenger’s use of BTP’s non-emergency text service, 61016, which was launched last month and can be used to notify officers about such incidents.

He added: “I would like to praise the member of the public who had the presence of mind to use BTP’s non-emergency text number to alert us to what was happening.

“Texting is a quick and discrete way of letting us know what is taking place, and on this occasion it helped us to react accordingly.”

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