A MAN who assaulted women students as they made their way to Blackburn College has been jailed for three years.

In three incidents, Kirk Hartley made suggestive comments to the young women -- and two were pulled into an alleyway.

The judge at Preston Crown Court told the 21-year-old the defendant he had behaved in a disgusting manner.

Hartley, of Kay Street, Darwen, pleaded guilty to three offences of sexual assault, carried out in September and October 2004.

Charlotte Crangle, prosecuting, said a woman was approached in Market Street, Darwen, and asked if she had a boyfriend.

The woman then ran into him in September in the Chadwick Street area of Blackburn when he took her by the arm and spoke in a sexually suggestive way.

The defendant tried to pull her on to Hamilton Street but she managed to break free.

The second offence involved a 25-year-old woman going to college on September 23.

Hartley asked her: "Are you up for a bit of fun?" and took hold of her arm.

She managed to pull away but Hartley grabbed at her, pulling her into an alleyway.

"He pinned her against a wall and told her to touch him. He took her hand and rubbed it indecently against him," said Miss Crangle.

The third offence was on October 6 when Hartley approached a 19-year-old student in Chadwick Street. He made sexual suggestions before exposing himself.

John Woodward, defending, said: "While he remembers certain aspects of what he did, he doesn't remember the detail. His relationship with his partner had been under stress and he took solace in drugs and alcohol."

Judge Brian Duckworth put Hartley on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period.

He also made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order barring him from approaching female strangers in public, going into any college or loitering in alleyways.