Someone let their dog foul on board a crowded train, but it’s claimed the announcer was unsure if people would be bothered by it.

The grim incident happened on a Merseyrail service on Tuesday afternoon, which a member of the public said was “seriously overcrowded.”

But according to Dr Stuart Wilks-Heeg, who was on a different carriage at the time, the on-board announcer told passengers: “We are aware of reports of a dog fouling in the front carriage. If this bothers you, please get off the train at the following station and wait for the next service.”

Dr Wilks-Heeg, a politics lecturer at the University of Liverpool, said they were told the Hunts Cross to Southport train would be “cleaned thoroughly” once it reached its final destination.

Dr Wilks-Heeg said he “doubted passengers would have been happy if the train had been delayed further or taken out of service to be cleaned”.

According to Merseyrail, a cleaner attended “promptly” after the firm was made aware of the incident.

Dr Wilks-Heeg said passengers were informed of what had happened at around 4.25pm.

He added: “I’ve never come across anything like this before.

“Fortunately, I wasn’t in the carriage where the incident occurred, so the reaction around me was a mix of bemusement and amusement.

“I suspect the reaction was very different in the carriage where the incident occurred, especially for anyone who had the misfortune to step in it – which seems very likely given how crowded the train was and how hard it was for people to move along the carriages to find a space, get off the train.”

On Wednesday, a Merseyrail spokeswoman said they were aware of what had happened on Tuesday afternoon.

She explained: “We were alerted to the incident and a cleaner attended promptly to fully clean the affected area.

“Passengers were advised of the option to disembark the train and await the next available service 15 minutes later while we arranged for a cleaner to attend.

“We are committed to keeping our trains clean and tidy and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”