TWELVE men appeared at North Antrim Magistrates' Court in Coleraine on Monday, charged with indecency offences.

The offences arose from a police operation carried out to investigate a cottaging ring at the public lavatories in Railway Road in the town at the end of November and beginning of December last year.

Police at the time confirmed that a number of people had been arrested during an operation in the town on Sunday, December 4.

The accused all faced charges alleging that they "intentionally engaged in sexual activity at public lavatories at Railway Road, Coleraine, contrary to Section 71 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003."

Before the court was George Albert Millar, 44, from Rosemary Place, Coleraine. He faced one charge on November 20, 2005.

William Cyril Cummins, 43, from Carrickbeg Avenue, Londonderry faced four charges on November 20.

Morrison Campbell McNeill, 43, from Fairhill Street, Armoy faced three charges on the same date.

William James Murphy, 42, from Landhead Road, Ballymoney faced four charges, also from November 20.

John McMullan, 46, from Hartford Park, Coleraine was charged with one offence on November 20.

Cahir Declan Mullan, 42, from Craigmore Terrace, Londonderry was charged with eight offences, all relating to November 20 last year.

The other defendants faced charges that they had intentionally engaged in sexual activity at the public lavatory in Railway Road, Coleraine on December 4, 2005.

They included Jason James Weir, 39, from Rosemary Place, Coleraine. He faced one charge.

Paul Anthony McCool, 44, from St Mary's Crescent, Londonderry faced two charges on the same date.

John Alexander Steele, 47, from Whitepark Road, Antrim faced two charges on December 4.

Peter Samuel Parkhill, 41, from Castlehill Place, Ballymoney was charged with a total of six offences relating to December 4 last year.

Norman Tannahill, 42, from Redwood Park, Coleraine faces one charge on the same date.

A 43-year-old man from the Ballymoney area was also charged with one offence relating to December 4. After a legal submission the Resident Magistrate, Mr Murphy, told the court that exposure of the defendant's name at this stage in the proceedings might cause serious harm to others, not connected with the case.

While he stated that the court was public and that the defendant had appeared publicly, he requested that the press be sensitive to the matter.

Constable Paul Creith, PSNI Coleraine, told the court that he was the investigating officer in all the cases. He said that he could connect all the defendants with the charges.

All the cases were adjourned to North Antrim Magistrate's Court in Coleraine on February 6.