Police have released the image of a man linked to the case of three women who were subjected to homophobic abuse and attacked by a gang of men on a train in Lancashire.

British Transport Police (BTP) said the incident happened at around 11.15pm on Friday 29 March, as the women were travelling home from Blackpool on a train between Blackpool North and Preston.

Officers said the women were approached by a group of men, who were abusive and violent after finding out the women were lesbians.

Police today released the CCTV image of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the incident.

PC Tony Greenwood said: “This was a particularly nasty and vicious assault which all began with unwarranted and totally unacceptable homophobic abuse.

“Sadly some people seem intent on causing trouble and we will use all tools at our disposal to bring them to justice.”

Greenwood previously said on the details of the incident: “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.

“This was a particularly nasty and vicious assault, which all began with unwarranted and totally unacceptable homophobic abuse.”

He said everyone had the right to travel in a safe environment free from abuse and violence, saying: “Sadly some people seem intent on causing trouble and we will use all tools at our disposal to bring them to justice.

“We believe they may have travelled on to Bolton after arriving at Preston.”

Anyone with information concerning the incident should call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. In all calls quote log B8/NWA of 7/5/13.