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British Transport Police (BTP) investigators are appealing for information after a student nurse was spat at twice on a train between Littlehaven and Horsham.
Officers have also released CCTV images of two men and a woman they want to identify in connection with the incident, which took place in the early hours of Saturday, 12 March.
The victim, a 28-year-old from Horsham, spotted a friend sitting near her in the carriage and stood up to talk to them.
As she did so, a man, sat behind her, spat in the back of her hair.
When the victim confronted the man about his actions, a woman, sat with the man, spat her chewing gum in the victim’s face.
The train arrived at Horsham and the victim, along with the two suspects, left the service.
The man and woman, who were accompanied by at least one other man, had originally boarded the service at Crawley.
PC Paul Gardner, investigating the incident, said: “We’re making local enquiries to establish the identities of those responsible, and ask anyone who recognises the people pictured in the CCTV images to come forward.
“Although the victim was uninjured, this vile and degrading attack has understandably left her shaken and upset.
“I am confident someone will recognise the woman and two men pictured. If you do, or have any information that could help us, I’d like to hear from you.”
Anyone with information about the incident should contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 and quote reference B6/LSA of 23/03/11.
Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.