PASSENGERS “bundled” a man off a bus after he unleashed a torrent of racist abuse at a woman wearing a hijab.

A witness said a man was behaving “in a very intimidating way” and “subjected a woman with three young children to the most vile racist abuse”.

He claimed he heard him shout “f***ing Syrians” at the woman.

He said: “Initially I was unaware of any altercations as I had headphones on, but it was clear the man was angry and saying something to the woman and the other passengers had already begun to intervene on her behalf.

“A man who was sitting at the back of the bus was one of those who came forward ad helped to remove this guy from the vehicle.

“It seems clear to me that this was a hate crime, whatever the man’s motivation.

“Throughout the encounter the woman who was on the receiving end remained calm and collected. It is a dreadful thing for her to have to experience, more so having such young children with her.”

Appalled passengers banded together in support of the woman and forced the man off the bus just a few hundred metres after he had got on.

Brighton Kemptown MP Russell Moyle praised the passengers who stepped in.

He said: “It shows that we will not allow racism here in Brighton but I hope that Sussex Police will take immediate action to track down the criminal and charge him.”

The witness reported the incident, which happened in St James’s street in Brighton on Saturday, to police.

Sussex Police said: “Police are investigating a report of a hate crime against a woman and her children on a bus in St James’ Street, Brighton, on Saturday at 5pm.

The Argus:

“A man was reported to have got on the Brighton and Hove number seven bus outside the Morrisons store and shouted racist abuse at a woman who was wearing a hijab who was sitting on the bus with her three children.

“Passengers on the bus including a man who reported the crime bungled the man off the bus.

"We would like to speak to this man in the image in connection with this incident on the bus."

PC Tessa Heath said: “We received a report of a hate crime from a third party who was on the bus.

“We have not been able to trace the victim.

“We would like to speak to a man who was on the bus in connection with this incident. He was wearing a baseball cap, a grey T-shirt, light brown camouflage shorts and blue and white trainers.

“If anyone witnessed the incident or knows who the man is please contact us online or ring 101 quoting serial 1383 of 06/07.”

Brighton and Hove Buses communications manager Marie Sansom said: “The alleged incident happened at 5.07pm on one of our route seven buses in St James Street, going towards the Marina, on Saturday.

“Our bus driver immediately reported the incident to our control room, who routinely liaise with police in cases like this.

“We have requested the CCTV footage as a priority, ready to share with the police.

“A passenger also contacted our customer service team about the same incident, alleging that a man was being aggressive and racist towards other passengers.

“Customer services are looking into the incident further and will share all information with police.

“Customer services later contacted another passenger who had tweeted about what happened, asking the person for further information, including a description and photograph of the man.

“In situations like this, our response team will attend and police will be called, depending on the seriousness of the incident. In this case, the man alighted before this could happen.”

Brighton & Hove Buses’ managing director Martin Harris said: “I’m pleased with the swift and positive response from every member of our team.

“We started our anti-hate crime campaign last year to encourage people to report hate crimes and to reinforce that we will not tolerate behaviour like this.

“Everybody deserves to feel safe and respected on our buses and we will do everything we can to ensure they do.”