A WOMAN followed on a train by a man who carried out a lewd act has been left shocked after she was told the CCTV was broken on two trains.

The 39-year-old woman was travelling to work from Branksome to Southampton on August 24 when the incident occurred.

She said: “When I arrived at Branksome station I noticed this man sat down with a hood up who was smoking, and I thought ‘you’re not allowed to smoke at the train station’.

“He stood up and was staring at me and came within a foot of me.”

When the train arrived, the woman, who usually stood, sat down but the man came and sat diagonally to her and the woman noticed he had tattoos on his hands and bloodshot eyes.

The train then arrived at Bournemouth, where two trains join before continuing to Southampton, and the woman got off and walked into a different carriage but was then followed by the man who then sat nearby before carrying out a lewd act.

The woman said: “I heard the guard was in coach six but I was in coach five and I got up an ended up walking into coach four. The man walked into the coach and I said ‘excuse me’ at him really loud and he looked a bit taken aback.”

Fortunately, a colleague was on the train and asked if the woman was OK before the train arrived at Southampton.

The woman later reported the incident to staff at Southampton railway station which was passed onto the British Transport Police to investigate.

However, last week the woman was told by police that the CCTV had been broken on both trains.

She said: “If it was only broken on one train I could understand but it is the fact it was broken on both trains and anything could happen.

“It did knock my confidence for a bit. I’m more annoyed that I got off the train without telling the guard.

“People like that man are wandering around trains and there’s no CCTV to catch these people.”

New figures released last week showed British Transport Police (BTP) recorded 61,159 crimes in the year 2017-18, up from 52,235 the previous year. Sexual offences increased by 16% to 2,472.

A spokesperson from British Transport Police said: “Officers from British Transport Police are currently investigating a sexual offence where a man exposed himself on board a train travelling towards Southampton.

“Anyone who was on board the train and saw what happened is asked to contact BTP by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 358 of 24/08/2018.”

A South Western Railway spokesman said: “We can assure our customers that the safety and security of everyone who travel on our network is our highest priority.

They added: “Onboard CCTV is very reliable so it was very unusual for it not be working.”