ARMED French police boarded a London-bound Eurostar after a Brit was accused of wearing “the wrong type of mask”.
The drama saw the unidentified man being arrested and hauled off the train after it made an emergency stop in Lille, northern France.
The incident unfolded soon after Eurostar 9031 left Paris Gare du Nord on time at 1.13pm French time on Thursday.
The man – who is in his 40s and believed to be from Liverpool – was then surrounded by at least eight uniformed officers,
He was left stranded when the train resumed its journey to England.
“I’ve done nothing wrong and respect all Coronavirus rules – this is absolutely outrageous,” he said, as he was led away in front of other stunned passengers.
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He added: “I have absolutely no idea what this is all about, except that a Eurostar staff member has taken a very strong dislike to me, and accused me of not wearing the right type of mask.
“Now I’m going to be left alone in France, when all I wanted to do is get home from a work trip.
"This is very cruel treatment. We should all be getting on, not treating each other like this.”
Asked why the man had been forced off the train, one of the Lille police officers confirmed he had been arrested, and said: “We don’t know why, we’ll have to find out.”
The female Eurostar manager – who remained on the train after the man was taken into custody – confirmed she had reported him for wearing the “wrong type of mask”.
Other passengers then complained about the unscheduled, unannounced stop in Lille that caused a delay of some 15 minutes.
“Why is Eurostar stopping its trains, and delaying hundreds of passengers, because of a petty dispute over one man’s mask?” said one.
According to Eurostar the man wasn't arrested but "refused travel".
A spokeswoman said rules "clearly state" face Covid masks must be worn both in stations and on board, and failuremay result in passengers refused travel.
"Unfortunately, a passenger on board a service from Paris to the UK on Thursday repeatedly removed his mask both in the station and on board, despite gentle reminders from staff," she said.
"During the journey, the passenger became aggressive and intimidating towards the on-board team, when they politely reminded him to wear a mask as is required under our conditions of carriage.
"Eurostar teams have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all of those on board, and this kind of behaviour towards our staff cannot be tolerated.
"As a result, the passenger was asked to leave the train at Lille station and in this situation it is normal procedure for the police to attend and assist.”
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