A 73 year old man was looking directly at a female passenger on the same bus as he pleasured himself.

Blackburn magistrates heard David Bretherton had his zip own and his hands inside his pants.

And when the woman moved to get away from him he smiled at her.

Bretherton, of Helmcroft Court, Haslingden, was convicted after a trial of intentionally exposing his genitals intending that someone would see them and be caused alarm or distress. He was made subject to a community order for 24 months with 50 days rehabilitation activity requirement, fined £50 and ordered to pay £620 costs and £90 victim surcharge. He was made subject to a restraining order for two years which prohibits him having any contact with the aggrieved or catching the X41 or X43 buses between Manchester and Rossendale between 5.30 am and 6.30 am and 1.45 am and 2.45 am. He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Scott Parker, prosecuting, said the woman was on her way home from work in Manchester. She saw the defendant, who wasn't known to her, sit across from her.

"He seemed to be looking at her but at first she just thought he was looking out of the window," said Mr Parker. "She then noticed he was touching himself with his hands down his pants. She could tell he was masturbating and he was staring at her."

The woman texted her boyfriend to ask what she should do.

"She felt trapped and started to panic," said Mr Parker. "She eventually moved to the rear of the bus where there were two women. One of them informed the driver and the victim called the police."

Bretherton got off the bus in Ramsbottom but not before the woman had taken a picture of him.

He eventually went to the police and admitted the photograph they had published was him.

"The victim broke down in tears when she got home," said Mr Parker. "She has to catch the same buses every day and had to take some time off work due to anxiety," said Mr Parker.

David Feingold, defending, produced references for his client who he said had worked all his life and was of positive good character.

"He has gone a long way in life before finding himself in this position," said Mr Feingold.

"He apologises and offers sympathy to the victim," said Mr Feingold.