Ryanair has reported an alleged racist incident on board one of its planes to police in the UK.

Footage purporting to show a man shouting racial slurs at a fellow passenger was posted to social media.

The man was filmed by a fellow passenger insulting an elderly woman, and shouting "don't talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow".

The footage was recorded on 19 October on Ryanair flight FR015 from Barcelona to London Stansted by UK resident David Lawrence who uploaded it on to social media.

It shows the man shouting at the woman to move seats while her daughter tries to stand up to him, telling him her mother is disabled.

He replies: "I don't care whether she's f****** disabled or not - if I tell her to get out she gets out."

The man then tells staff to move the woman to another seat, adding: "If you don't go to another seat I'll push you to another seat".

Cabin crew can be heard to say: "Don't be so rude, you have to calm down" while other passengers call for the man to be thrown off the flight.

The woman can be heard telling the man he stinks and needs a wash, before asking to be moved so she can sit next to her daughter.

The daughter of the woman who was targeted said she believed if a black person had behaved in the same way they would have been thrown off the flight immediately.

She told the Huffington Post that the row had started because her 77-year-old mother's arthritis meant it took her some time to move out of the way so the man could reach the window seat.

The daughter said she had taken her mother, who is a Windrush Generation migrant who came to the UK from Jamaica in the 1960s, on holiday to mark one year since the death of her father.

"My parents were married over 50 years. She's been feeling really down and depressed, so I thought the trip would raise her spirits."

She continued: "I know that if I was behaving like he was or any other black person for that matter, police would have been called and we would have been kicked off the flight."

"Mum's really feeling upset and very stressed about this situation, on top of the grief she's already experiencing.

"As for me, I'm upset about the whole thing too - the fact that the passenger wasn't taken off the plane and how the situation was dealt with," she said.

The woman said that when she had complained to cabin crew they denied hearing any racial slurs and they told her to ring customer services on Monday.

News of the incident was retweeted 18,000 times after a user with the handle @StanceGrounded uploaded Mr Laurence's clip, prompting widespread condemnation of Ryanair for failing to act swiftly.

Ryanair said in a tweet today that it had seen the footage and reported the incident to Essex police.

A spokeswoman for Essex police said: "This incident, which we were made aware of this morning, is believed to have taken place on a plane at Barcelona Airport.

"Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported.

"We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation."