‘Despicable’ racism against train teens

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RACIST abuse towards two teenage girls on an exchange programme in Harrogate has been branded “despicable” by transport police.

The two girls, aged 16 and 17, were the victims of racist taunts on a train from Knaresborough to York.

Police say a group of between six and eight men boarded the train at Knaresborough at 9.14am and began singing songs. They then began saying racist comments towards the two girls, who are on an exchange programme from Hong Kong.

Investigating officer PC Harry Thompson, of British Transport Police (BTP), said the unprovoked abuse left both girls feeling extremely intimidated and frightened.

“Racist abuse of any sort is unacceptable, but the nature of the insults levelled at the passengers in the carriage were despicable,” he said. “Everyone has the right to travel without fear of abuse or threatening behaviour, and when that behaviour is further exacerbated by racist undertones, our stance becomes firmer still.”

Three men, a 56-year-old, a 50-year-old, and a 24-year-old, all from York, were arrested at York station after the incident on January 29 and have since been bailed. Anyone with information is asked to contact BTP on 0800 405040.