POLICE have launched an investigation after a bus passenger racially abused a woman and her young child.

The "aggressive" man was aboard the M1 Morebus service on the afternoon of Saturday, August 12 when he verbally abused the victims. He got off the bus near the Christopher Creeke pub in Holdenhurst Road after the driver called police.

Robert Readman, who lives in Bournemouth, witnessed the "nasty and upsetting" incident and followed the man from the bus.

"Just before the Lansdowne roundabout, an unkempt older man boarded.

"On discovering there were no seats available, he became very aggressive towards a foreign lady who was occupying a double seat with her young daughter next to her, demanding that she move the child as he was British and more entitled to a seat than she was," Mr Readman said.

The aggressor pushed past the "obviously frightened" woman and attempted to sit in the seat occupied by her daughter, he added.

The bus driver then intervened, but the man launched a racist tirade, and the driver called the police. The man then got off the bus, with Mr Readman in pursuit.

"When he made to board another bus that had come along behind, I warned the driver not to allow him to board as police were on their way," he said.

"He turned on me, kicking me three times on the shin."

Eventually, the man went into a pub in Old Christchurch Road.

Mr Readman said the "extremely distressing" incident made him feel "thoroughly ashamed to be British".

"As unpleasant as it was, I was even more angered at the lack of support that the driver and I received from others on board the bus, who just sat in silence, pretending that nothing was going on," he said.

Morebus operations manager Richard Wade said: "Our driver called the police after being made aware of a passenger using racist language towards another.

"The driver’s actions were supported by others on the bus, who remained behind to act as witnesses.

"We do not tolerate racist behaviour from any of our team or passengers, and are taking this matter very seriously.

"Further details are currently being investigated - including CCTV footage from the vehicle.

"We will assist the police in any way we can to identify the offender.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "We received a report of a man acting aggressively and making racially-aggravated comments toward a female passenger on the M1 bus just before 1pm on Saturday, August 12.

"The man got off the bus on Holdenhurst Road near to the Christopher Creeke pub.

"Officers are currently investigating the incident. No arrests have been made."