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Have you heard the one about the train and the comedian?

PUBLISHED: 18:15 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:17 12 August 2010

COMEDY TURN: Tom Wrigglesworth

COMEDY TURN: Tom Wrigglesworth

A STAND-UP comedian was threatened with arrest after helping a 75-year-old grandmother who had been left in tears by a train conductor. Horrified Tom Wrigglesworth, 32, stepped in when he allegedly saw grandmother-of-eleven, Lena Ainscow, crying as a Vi

A STAND-UP comedian was threatened with arrest after helping a 75-year-old grandmother who had been left in tears by a train conductor.

Horrified Tom Wrigglesworth, 32, stepped in when he allegedly saw grandmother-of-eleven, Lena Ainscow, crying as a Virgin trains' jobsworth demanded she pay £115 for a ticket, claiming the pensioner's one was invalid.

She was on her way to visit her family in Bromley and was especially excited about seeing her son-in-law who has just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Winner of Channel 4's So you think you're funny? programme, Mr Wrigglesworth said: "I was shocked when I saw him asking her to pay all that money for something that wasn't even her fault. It was a disgrace. I only paid £3 for my ticket.

Mrs Ainscow was allegedly incorrectly told by station staff to board the 10.15am service from Manchester to London but her ticket was for the 10.45am train.

Mr Wrigglesworth promptly arranged a whip-round amongst passengers who were glad to donate but the conductor called the police, claiming his charitable act amounted to begging.

He said: "I did a whip-round and cracked a few jokes. One person gave me £30. The police were expecting a wino to rock up and I wasn't looking my best but I was a far cry from a beggar. I explained to them what had happened and they were shocked.

"A mob of passengers crowded around the police supporting me and jeering at the conductor saying he should be arrested. He looked a bit sheepish when the police asked him what they thought I should be arrested for."

Bizarrely, Mr Wrigglesworth, who is considering legal action against Virgin, already has a routine about begging on trains. He added: "I will inevitably be using what happened in my material."

A Virgin Train's spokesman said: "We are sorry for any distress Mrs Ainscow suffered. We are conducting a thorough investigation and have spoken with Mrs Ainscow's family and with Mr Wrigglesworth.

"There was some confusion between what Mrs Ainscow was told at Manchester Piccadilly station and what the train manager understood.

"In this case, Mrs Ainscow was not travelling on the train for which she booked. Our onboard train managers are able to use their discretion in such circumstances.

"When Mrs Ainscow arrived at Euston our stations team refunded her ticket and arranged for a taxi to her final destination, free of charge.

"The train manager challenged Mr Wrigglesworth after some passengers, who were in other coaches and had not witnessed the earlier discussion, expressed concerns to him about Mr Wrigglesworth collecting money."

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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