A MAN allegedly performed sexual acts on himself under his clothes in front of children in Rossendale, a jury was told.

Antonio Teoli, 26, is said by the prosecution to have struck for his sexual gratification in front of frightened youngsters in the Memorial Gardens, Haslingden, as he watched pornography on his mobile phone, in the town's library and on a road in Rawtenstall.

A 12-year-old girl was the alleged victim in two of the incidents, last May, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Teoli, of Hillside Road, Haslingden, denies three counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child between May 1 and 17 in the Memorial Gardens, at the library between May 1 and 21 and on the road on May 22.

Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said on the morning of May 22 the girl was walking to school with her brother and cousin when the defendant started to follow them and tried to get their attention. They recognised him from a previous incident earlier in the month in the gardens.

Mr Haworth said the trio tried to change their pace but Teoli kept up with them.

He alleged: “He was smiling at them and he had his hand down the front of his pants and his boxer shorts.”

Teoli allegedly continued to follow the group and when they crossed the road to join two friends, he got ahead of them.

The deputy headmaster was at the school entrance, they didn't tell him as they were running late, but as soon as they were in school reported the incident.

Further police inquiries led to two children who had been in the gardens telling officers they had witnessed him performing a sex act in another incident in Haslingden Library.

Teoli denies all the charges.