British Transport Police are investigating claims that a young boy was assaulted by a pensioner on a train to Manchester.
Images which appear to show the child being put in an arm lock have been shared widely on social media, with Northern Rail confirming it too is looking into the alleged incident.
According to witnesses, the disagreement happened at around lunchtime on Friday on the Clitheroe to Manchester service.
Three young boys, thought to be aged eight to 11, got on the train at Blackburn and were travelling unaccompanied.
It’s understood that the children had been sitting with their feet on the seats, and were approached by the man who asked them to put them down.
One student, who was sat behind the boys, said the man, who was believed to be in his 70s, told them to put their feet down and they refused.
“They were being quite cocky,” he said.
The 17-year-old added: “He threatened them with a ‘clip around the ear’ and then went and sat back down. The children then put their feet back up and wouldn’t take them down. The guy then went over again and tried to take their feet down.”
It is at this point, when the train was near Bolton, that the man is alleged to have put one of the boys into an arm lock, a photo of which – taken by one of the other children – has been shared on Twitter and Facebook dozens of times.
A spokesman for Northern Rail said: “We are currently investigating this incident. Because of this, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment at this time.”
British Transport Police confirmed on Twitter it is investigating the incident.