A MAYOR has strongly criticised a train inspector for "unacceptable" behaviour towards a pregnant woman.

The women was travelling on a Greater Anglia service from Liverpool Street and was sat in a first class carriage but only has a ticket for standard seating.

David Dadds, Basildon mayor witnessed the ticket inspector ask the woman for a valid ticket and suggest she moved, despite there not being a standard class seat available.

The mayor said he was shocked as the way the inspector spoke to the woman.

He said: "The inspector asked if the woman had a doctors note to prove she was pregnant, when she was so heavily with child.

"He then told her other people in the first class carriage would not be happy with her sitting there, I then said we had no problem and people agreed with me.

"I asked if he could use discretion but he refused, he said the woman should ask someone to give up their seat for her.

"I would give up my seat, and think other gentlemen would too.

"I just thought it was so disrespectful to the woman and showed no empathy to her.

"The way he dealt with it was not appropriate at all.

"I don't understand why the train company wanted to see a letter to prove her pregnancy."

Mr Dadds said the woman was clearly distressed and may have been taken off the train at Shenfield.

The Basildon mayor said she had a discussion with the inspector after leaving the train and she was upset.

He said: "I think he was trying to embarrass her and he behaved in such a way that I felt I had to speak up.

"I feel upset for the woman. What has happened to common decency."

He said the woman was causing no harm by sitting in the seat.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: "We are very sorry to hear this and would like to apologise to the passenger involved.

"We will be fully investigating this incident and reminding our on train teams to use compassion when dealing with situations like this in future.

"We have a policy in place that offers pregnant season ticket holders a letter of authority to travel in First Class for the final eight weeks of their pregnancy, but on all other occasions, we would expect staff to use their discretion to ensure that customers are comfortable on their journeys, especially if they are pregnant or have other specific needs, as is set out in the provisions of the National Conditions of Carriage.

"The passenger involved remained in her First Class seat for the entirety of her journey and the penalty fare notice has been cancelled."

It happened on September 11.