British Transport Police has released CCTV of a group of men officers would like to speak to after three women were subjected to homophobic abuse on a train between Blackpool North and Preston.
The incident happened at around 11.15pm on Friday, 29 March, as the women were travelling home from Blackpool.
During the journey the women were approached by a group of men who, after finding out the women were gay, became abusive and violent.
PC Tony Greenwood said: “The men became extremely offensive and hurled homophobic abuse at the women before spraying them with a bottle of shaken-up lemonade.
“As the offensive behaviour got more extreme one of the men became violent and knocked a 21-year-old woman to the floor before further assaulting her.
“As a result the woman suffered bruising and swelling to her face, head and arms and has suffered from partial memory loss since the incident.”
PC Greenwood added: “This was a particularly nasty and vicious assault which all began with unwarranted and totally unacceptable homophobic abuse.
“Everyone has the right to travel in a safe environment free from abuse and violence. Sadly some people seem intent on causing trouble and we will use all tools at our disposal to bring them to justice.
“Investigations carried out to date have led us to the CCTV pictures of these men who, we believe, have vital information in relation to this enquiry.
“We believe they may have travelled on to Bolton after arriving at Preston and It is imperative that we locate these men as soon as possible in a bid to trace those responsible.”
• If you recognise the men, or can help the investigation in any way, please call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. In all calls please quote log B8/NWA of 7/5/13