A tiny railway line in the South Hams is on alert for the politically correct police.

The Kingsbridge and District Light Railway, which runs alongside the town’s embankment, has revealed a visitor had warned the nearby tourist information centre that a replica railway heritage advert for Ovaltine at the Ria End station might cause offence.

Light railway owner Steve Mammatt, 57, said: “Someone went into the information centre and commented on one of our historical adverts on the station. They said some people may find the advert offensive. They could be correct, Ovaltine is horrible stuff!”

He added: “It wasn’t a complaint as such, it was more ‘it might offend’ sort of statement, as the little girl is holding an offensive doll.”

The black doll, which in the past would have been referred to as a “golliwog”, used to be a familiar sight on the side of Robertson’s jam jars. The labels were collectable, as the company redeemed them for small statues or badges. But the symbol was withdrawn by the company in 2001, following complaints. And in 2007, the Manchester Evening News reported Greater Manchester Police seized two golliwogs from a shop after a complaint that the dolls were offensive.

Mr Mammatt was asked if there had been demands the Ovaltine advert should be removed.

He replied: “I don’t think so. There was once about the Player's (cigarettes) advert. I said if they could find the product at the price advertised I would take it down. Never heard anything back.”

He added: “No one has noticed the ‘ginger nuts’ advert yet.”

Meanwhile, local residents came to the railway’s defence.

Ian Barnett said: “It’s a period sign and you cannot judge it by today’s standards.”

And Paul Robins said: “They are part of our past! Don’t remove them!”