THREE men have been told they may be facing prison after pleading guilty to outraging public decency by exposing themselves and performing sexual acts on each other during an evening train ride on the Furness Line.

Ian Iveson, 38, of Victoria Street, Dalton; Gary Wilson, of Bardsea Close, Dalton, 42; and Shane Woods, 30, of Sandy Lane, Askam, all pleaded guilty to the offence when they appeared at Barrow Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The court heard the three men had been out drinking in Lancaster all day to celebrate Iveson’s birthday.

They boarded the train heading to Barrow at about 9.20pm on January 15 last year.

Two 14-year-old girls and one of their mothers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, then witnessed the men pulling down their trousers revealing their genitals and then taking it in turns to simulate a sex act.

Prosecuting, David Dunk said Wood exposed himself “while the other two put their heads towards his groin”.

The court heard that, as the witnesses ran out of the carriage, they could hear the men making noises as if performing an oral sex act.

In mitigation, Graham Jackson said the men believed they were only simulating the sexual act, although even if it was a simulation, in the eyes of the law it was still performing a sexual act.

He said “They are ashamed of their behaviour. They were hoping they hadn’t committed the sexual act and it was only a simulation. From viewing the CCTV they are encouraged in their belief.”

The court heard the three men, two of whom — Iveson and Wilson — are married with children, had no recollection of the event and only realised they were wanted by the police after reading it in the local newspaper.

Chairman of the bench Bernard Beckett said the incident had a traumatic effect on the witnesses.

He stood the case down until March 31 for a pre-sentence report.

He said due to the age of the witnesses and the amount of victims to the crime due to it being a busy carriage he felt their sentences should be “substantial”, possibly including custody.

“All options are open, you have to understand that,” Mr Beckett said.