Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paedophilia is easy: how police finally caught up with a network of child abusers

Published October 2000 No comments... »
A little way south of the centre of Bristol, there is a neat and peaceful patch of suburbia called Brislington. In amongst its red-brick rows of Victorian terraced homes, there is a street called Churchill Road – just an ordinary collection of two-storey houses with patches of grass out back and a couple of For Sale signs in the front. The door to number 49 is painted cream.

In October 1997, a woman telephoned the police in Bristol to say that she was worried about her nephew, Ricky. He was 15 years old, he had had some trouble in his family, and the thing was that he kept going off for a day or two at a time and then, when he came back, he had new clothes or little gifts and he wouldn’t say how he had got them. Was he stealing, was he mixed up in drugs? It worried her, and all she knew was that Ricky was going to a house at 49 Churchill Road.

As a result of that call, the police opened the cream-coloured door and uncovered a rats’ nest of child abuse – a full-blown paedophile ring. The house was a honey trap, fitted out with a gaming machine, a sauna, plenty of videos and drink and drugs and anything else that might persuade a wandering boy to come in off the streets. Inside the house, some of the boys had been slowly groomed for the sexual pleasure of men who lived there. Others had been simply raped. Some had been given heroin to keep them compliant. Several had been forced into prostitution. Some of the abusers had been busy for twenty years.

Three years on, the officers of Avon and Somerset’s Child Protection Team have identified 89 boy victims, aged between 6 and 16. They have run four major trials at which victims have told stories of unmitigated pain and exploitation. Twelve men have been convicted of rape, forced buggery, indecent assault, supplying heroin and living off prostitution. Many of the men admitted their guilt and they have been jailed for a total of 66 years. The police have also uncovered allegations of murder and found links between the house in Bristol and addresses in south Wales as well as Holland and France. And yet, all this conceals a deeper story.

This other story begins some four years before that phone call to police – with other phone calls, other alarm bells ringing. By October 1994, social services and police in Bristol had been warned repeatedly that vulnerable boys were being sexually abused at 49 Churchill Road.
The loudest warning had come from a gay social worker, whose boyfriend was living in the house. Neither the social worker nor the boyfriend had any interest in child abuse. The social worker was worried about a 14-year-old boy who had run away from a children’s home and then returned in an agitated state, constantly washing himself in the shower. Through the boyfriend, he discovered that the runaway had been staying at 49 Churchill Road and that there were clear signs of paedophile activity there. The social worker went to the social services department. The police interviewed his boyfriend, who told them all he knew about the honey trap and the boys and the drugs and the sexual abuse. And there was more.

Other social workers had reported separately that a 13-year-old boy who was on their register of children at risk, was believed to have become embroiled in Bristol’s rent boy scene: he was disappearing for days at a time, he was believed to be using strong drugs and he was found to be carrying a piece of paper with a phone number – which was traced to 49 Churchill Road. Two other boys who had been living in a children’s home had been reported to be visiting the house; one had been caught up in an earlier inquiry into child pornography. Worse still, a social worker who was based at the children’s home was said to have introduced a vulnerable boy to the men in the house.

On October 7 1994, Avon’s Child Protection Committee held a special meeting to discuss what they themselves described as “a potential paedophile ring” at 49 Churchill Road. Three social workers and a police inspector reviewed all the clues and agreed to check all their records and to interview the children they believed to be involved; the social workers sent a minute of the meeting to their area manager; the police inspector said he would talk to his superintendent and to the Crown Prosecution Service; the wheels all started to turn… and essentially nothing happened. The door stayed closed. Two years later, two more boys made allegations about the house. Again, the door stayed closed. The rape and seduction and all the rest of it continued unabated as it had done for years before.

The big point here is that there is nothing unusual in that kind of failure to uncover and prosecute child abuse. Paedophilia is the least effectively policed crime in Britain. It is grossly under-reported by its victims: just like the adult victims of sex abuse, they suffer from shame and the anticipation of disbelief in court; in addition, they are far more easily confused and intimidated by their abusers. Police generally make almost no attempt to go out and uncover unreported abuse: while every police force in the country pours resources into fighting drugs and robbery and burglary, only a handful of the thirty two police forces have proactive paedophile units. The News of the World’s summer campaign to name paedophiles may have been grossly misfocused in its demand, but in its essential complaint about the profound weakness of the policing of paedophilia, the paper had its finger on a national scandal.
The operation which finally destroyed the Bristol ring broke through this wall of inaction, not because anyone in the Home Office or the Association of Chief Police Officers finally had the courage to address the scandal, but simply because of the chance involvement of several unusual individuals.

It so happened that in the autumn of 1996, a young detective sergeant named Rob Jones had moved to Avon and Somerset’s Child Protection Team. He knew that this was an odd thing to do, that child protection had always been written off by most detectives as ‘women’s work’. The unit didn’t investigate cases at all. They just supplied back-up for social workers and advice for families and children who found themselves in police hands. It was no place for a real detective. But Rob Jones is an odd man, not simply because he is one of nature’s outsiders, but because he is a black belt in karate, a discipline which has given him unusual strength of will and self-confidence. He really didn’t mind if his CID colleagues thought he was soft; he thought child protection was serious police work.

He was joined by two experienced detective constables, Pete Mainstone and Phil Brown, and together they set about changing the unit so that it would go out and actively look for abused children. It was Pete Mainstone who took the call from Ricky’s worried aunt in October 1997. And instead of merely processing it, as just about any other child protection unit in the country would have done, he pushed to find out more. He arranged to meet Ricky with his aunt and he checked intelligence records and found that the house in Churchill Road was already suspect. And Jones, sensing a chance to make a point, prepared for the possibility of a full-scale inquiry.

Almost every step was a struggle against inertia. Ricky was reluctant to talk, but slowly he agreed to tell what he knew. He spoke of rent boys coming to the house; there was a suggestion that pornographic films were being made; he spoke of a stream of men who visited; he broke down and described eventually how he had been buggered relentlessly and against his will by two men; and he named them. One was Christopher Leek, now aged 44, a costume dresser who had worked on The Bill and who owned the house. He had been using it as a honey trap for years, but Avon and Somerset Police had no intelligence on him. The other man, however, was notorious: Tony Stevens, now aged 45, had a long history of abusing boys. He had previously called himself Mark Underhill, but he was better known to under-aged rent boys in Bristol and south Wales as Fat Tony or Lard Arse and, although he had never been convicted in Britain, he had been arrested and jailed in Portugal in 1993 with two other British men after being caught paying local children to make pornographic videos in their camper van.
Rob Jones knew he was onto something terribly important, but he and the two DCs could work on the case only part time, while they continued with conventional child protection work. They needed extra resources: surveillance officers to watch the house in Churchill Road; technical support so they could video those coming and going; more officers to follow up on the leads which Ricky had given them. Jones managed to borrow three officers from other units, but that was all. There was a big push on car crime in Bristol and the force could not spare him any more. After months of frustration, Jones decided to take a chance: he got a warrant to search the house and persuaded his bosses to give him proper back-up for just one night.

He was taking a risk: Ricky, who had kept ducking out of appointments, had now disappeared without signing his statements and, if they found nothing in the house, they would have no evidence with which to charge the paedophiles and they would have squandered the tiny credibility they enjoyed with their bosses. On the night of February 3 1998, Avon and Somerset Police finally opened the door at 49 Churchill Road.

They found the whole place had been sanitised: no boys; no drugs; a computer hard disk that had been professionally wiped; photographic equipment all boxed up and stowed away. It turned out that during the long months of delay, Ricky had told the men in the house that he had been talking to the police, and they had covered their tracks. There was no evidence there to justify a charge. But, by sheer persistence, they had managed to track down Ricky only hours before the raid, and he had signed his statements. On that basis, they now arrested Christopher Leek and Fat Tony Stevens. As they searched the house, a boy named Andrew arrived. He started to talk, painting the same picture as Ricky, describing indecent assaults which he had suffered, and crucially he added the names of other boy victims and other men.
Now, Rob Jones had a full-blooded investigation. But he was running it out of a shoebox. He needed more detectives to carry out interviews; he needed an incident room with a computer system with HOLMES software for major inquiries and he needed admin officers to run it. But all he was given a single terminal and a part-time inputter. Why would the Child Protection Team need an incident room? At least one senior officer was actively arguing for the whole inquiry to be stopped immediately. And Jones had a more immediate worry: if Leek and Stevens got bail, he would have no chance of getting their victims to talk. Ricky had told them that the two men had not only instructed him to stop talking to the police but had taken him to a solicitor to file a complaint that the police were harrassing him. At this moment, another unusual individual joined the inquiry.

Brendan Moorhouse is a barrister, working for the Crown Prosecution Service in their New Bridewell office in the centre of Bristol. He could have earned a lot more in private practice, but he was not interested. When he was a child, he and his family had survived a major aircrash in which other passengers had died. His survivor’s sense of guilt was inflamed by anger when the airline eventually paid generous compensation to the families of American passengers but very little to British families whose legal position was much weaker. He had grown up in apartheid South Africa with a real drive for justice and, when Rob Jones asked for his help, he made it his business not simply to act as a CPS case worker but to guide the police inquiry, more like an American district attorney.

From the first day, he organised a special strategy. They would build a big picture for the jury, aiming where possible to keep different offenders together in the same dock with a collection of their victims as witnesses. It would be much harder work than simply running a sequence of small trials, but it was their best chance of showing the jury the truth. And immediately, Moorhouse volunteered to turn up in court personally to take charge of every bail application. His first success was to keep Leek and Stevens behind bars while Rob Jones’ officers tracked down their victims.

For three months, with Brendan Moorhouse’s guidance, Jones’ small team gathered more evidence. By June, they had 15 victims and a queue of men waiting to be arrested – and still no extra resources. And, behind the scenes, senior officers had now made up their minds to pull the plug. They had appointed a new chief inspector to run the Child Protection Team and briefed him to stop the job before it got any bigger – no more arrests, no more fresh inquiries. That was it. At this point, Jones’ team had two strokes of luck. First, the new chief inspector, Ian Appleton, turned out to be a man who understood what they were doing, and he fought for them and, against the grain, he finally got them their own incident room and even some cars. Rob Jones assembled a ‘dirty dozen’ officers, begged and borrowed from uniformed work or from district CID teams. ‘Operation Panorama’ was born. The second stroke of luck was the arrival of a new chief constable, Steve Pilkington, who agreed to support the inquiry in a way that some of his predecessors and many of his contemporaries would not. On July 7 1998, nine months after the first call from Ricky’s aunt and with the back-up they needed in place at last, Jones’ team co-ordinated a series of dawn arrests. Now, they had a total of ten men in custody. And the story they were uncovering was horrific.

Following the grapevine of victims, they traced a 26-year-old Welshman named Wayne, who had first become a victim of Fat Tony Stevens 14 years earlier, when he was only 12. Wayne told them how he had grown up in a village near Caerphilly in south Wales and how, when he was only six or seven, he had joined a stamp club which was run by an adolescent boy called Alan Williams. Wayne was not to know that Williams was already acting out the most furious fantasies of child abuse and was to grow up to become one of the most ruthless and exploitative abusers in Britain, a multiple rapist and child pornographer known in the paedophile world as the Welsh Witch.

Wayne described how Williams asked him to stay behind after stamp club and introduced him to an old man, who smelled bad. They bent him over an armchair, stripped off his trousers, held his head down in the cushion and took it in turns to bugger him. He screamed and they pushed his head so deep into the cushion that he thought he would suffocate. Then they threw him out, and Wayne recalled how he wandered off in a state of grievous pain and panic and found himself in his infant school playground where he announced his turmoil in the only way that occurred to him. He started picking up stones and hurling them at the windows. When he was marched home with a shower of broken glass behind him, his father was furious with him, so Wayne never even tried to tell what had happened. He knew no one would believe him if he did.
From that day, Wayne became a plaything for Alan Williams and his adult friends. They would wait for him outside school. He changed his route home; they tracked him down. They told him, if he ever betrayed them, they would kill his dog and hurt his sister and tell his family he was queer. Sometimes, they gave him cannabis and LSD. If they wanted him during the day, they would send the school forged letters from his parents to justify his absence. This had been going on intermittently for four or five years, when Alan Williams first introduced him to Fat Tony Stevens.

Wayne said he was coming out of school when Williams came up beside him in a car with a man. They gave him some dope to smoke and some Pernod and drove him to a house in Roath on the edge of Cardiff. Fat Tony was waiting there, and all three of them now went for him at once, in his backside and in his mouth at the same time. When he eventually got home, his father beat him with a belt for being so late back from school. Wayne took to sniffing glue; the more delinquent he became, the more vulnerable he was. Fat Tony and the others abused him in chalets and caravan parks, on the dunes at Ogmore beach in Swansea, and in each other’s houses. They took him to other paedophiles and swapped him for their boys for the night. “I wanted to die,” Wayne told the police. “I wanted them to die.”

The house in Churchill Road became a magnet for Fat Tony and his obsessive friends – Army John, Rob the Van Man, Kevin the Gerbil, a vicar called Tim, Gerry the Dog, Peter the ice-cream man who was too obese to act out most of his fantasies, a 61-year-old dope dealer called Alan Tanner, and the Welsh Witch Alan Williams. The house was a paedophile playground. Chris Leek, who owned it, rented out rooms, many of them to men looking for young boys. Fat Tony himself eventually took one of them. Leek spent hours down on Anchor Road in the middle of Bristol, where the old public toilets, deep in the shade of a clutch of maple trees, were the main market place for the city’s rent boys. He picked them up and brought them home, gave them drugs and used them for sex. Then he passed them on to Fat Tony and the others.

Sometimes the rent boys sold themselves willingly. Other times, they were raped. The men also targetted boys from two local schools and picked up runaways from childrens’ homes, offering them the safety of a bed in Churchill Road. One was picked up hitchhiking and raped at knife point. Another had the misfortune to use a schoolbus which picked him up each afternoon in Anchor Road, just opposite the notorious toilets. Two of Leeks’s friends, Alan Tanner and Sean Robberts, spotted him, chatted him up, offered him drugs and physically forced him to give Tanner a blow job. He was 12 when it started. By the time he was 14, he was ruined, and the two men were selling him in the toilets.

Older boys were just as vulnerable. One boy described how, as a 17-year-old, he had fled from his family home, where his father had been using him for sex. He stayed with a friend, had a row about the rent and found himself homeless. One of the men from Churchill Road found him and offered him safe haven. Fat Tony Stevens liked the look of him and, as the boy later told Operation Panorama officers: “He ripped my trousers off, put a condom on and fucked me. I felt like my life had been taken, like I had been stabbed. It went on for ages. I just closed my eyes, imagining I was dead. He finished, got up, walked out and said ‘Thanks’ – like I gave it to him.”
The police found that Leek had been reaping a financial and sexual bonus by forcing some of the boys to sell themselves. One 13-year-old made the mistake of asking him for cannabis: Leek gave him heroin to smoke, got him addicted, forcibly buggered him and then later put him to work in the toilets in Anchor Road under threat of cutting off his supply. The boy who had run away from his father’s abuse was eventually paid £14,000 compensation. Chris Leek persuaded him to invest it in a building society in their joint names and then spent almost all of the money himself. When the boy lost his job and could no longer pay his rent. Leek was furious, threw a coffee table at him, threatened to throw him out on the street – and took him down to Anchor Road and started selling him to punters, keeping some of the money for himself.

Working their way through this, the Operation Panorma team soon found themselves in an ever-increasing web of reported offences. By the beginning of 1999, they had some 80 possible victims and more than 60 suspected abusers – and only ten of them had been arrested. Some of those who were still at large were prolific paedophiles. The man who was known to the boys at Churchill Road as ‘Army John’ turned out to be John Gay, now aged 49, whose history of vicious abuse went back even further than Fat Tony Stevens’. Police discovered that he was a close friend of the Welsh Witch, Alan Williams, and that he had been abusing Wayne when he was only six or seven years old. They were told he posed variously as a police officer and an AIDS researcher to get close to his targets.

Gay was also close to Fat Tony Stevens, although in a peculiarly perverse way. In custody, Stevens told police that Gay had raped him when he was 13 and he agreed to press charges against him. Equally, however, Stevens had colluded with Gay in the abuse of children and was one of the two British men who had been jailed with Stevens in Portugal in 1993 after turning their camper van into a mobile porn studio. The third man in the camper van, Lee Tucker, was almost equally prolific, a small mouse-like man, now aged 36, who worked as a courier and teamed up with Gay in an awesomely destructive double act. For twenty years, they had travelled through Bristol and South Wales, obsessively buggering and indecently assaulting young boys. Tucker, too, had assaulted the young Wayne, raping him first in the dunes at Swansea. But Gay and Tucker and the dozens of other suspects remained free.

With ten men in custody awaiting trial and sixty more waiting to be investigated, this had become a very big job. At the CPS, Brendan Moorhouse was working in an office which had lost more than a quarter of its lawyers through funding cuts. It was a full time job simply dealing with the ten men who had been arrested so far, trying to convince one bench after another that they should not be given bail, that their accusers really were victims even if they did have criminal records or drug habits. And he was juggling all this with some 250 other cases. His determination to hold all the defendants together to make a big picture for the jury made the job even more complex. The only way to cope was to use his own time, and on a considerable scale. On the eve of the ten men’s committal hearing, for example, Moorhouse worked right through Saturday, slept for one hour and then worked through the rest of the night and all of Sunday to prepare the case. One of his administrative staff came in from annual leave to pull together the paperwork.

For senior officers at Avon and Somerset police, the big problem was the Home Office, who now steer police activity with a list of “best value performance indicators”, on which each force is judged. There are 37 of them. They deal with recorded crimes and domestic burglaries and violent crimes and drug-dealing; they cover efficiency-savings and complaints and ethnic balance and 999 calls. But there is nothing anywhere in any of them about child abuse. By diverting resources into Operation Panorama, Avon and Somerset was risking its corporate neck with the Home Office and HM Inspector of Constabulary.

At current strength, Panorama could just about cope with prosecuting the ten men. At one point, they lost their hard-earned incident room, when a murder squad pushed them out. The pool typists were too busy on the murder to type up their statements. Jones had borrowed an officer from the fraud squad, but after a while they had taken her back. There was no chance of Panorama being given extra resources to deal with the 60 new suspects, all of whom remained at liberty more than a year after the last wave of arrests. Instead, the Panorama officers ran a risk assessment on them, singled out Gay and Tucker as the two most dangerous, and looked forward to the moment when they could spare the officers to start investigating them. They would have given the Welsh Witch Alan Williams the same priority, but he had escaped justice, by dying in a mess or heroin and AIDS during delay. The dozens of other suspects were put on the back burner.

In September 1999, without a single word of national publicity, Jones’ team began three linked trials at Bristol Crown Court. By December, every defendant either had pleaded guilty or had been convicted by a jury. The ‘big picture’ strategy had worked. Most of them were jailed – Christopher Leek for twelve years, Tony Stevens for eight. The judge commended Rob Jones and his team.

By the time the trials were over, John Gay and Lee Tucker had been arrested, and the Panorama team were ready to gather more evidence on them and to get to grips with the long queue of up to 60 other suspects. With the triumphant success of the the trials behind them, they hoped to be given a clear run. But the truth was that their time was running out. Avon and Somerset police had by now ploughed huge resources into the inquiry, on a scale that was unmatched by other forces and, crucially, that was unsupported by the Home Office. The Bristol detectives could pursue all the loose ends effectively only by setting up a full time paedophilia unit. But the pressure from Whitehall was to focus resources on the 37 performance indicators. Senior officers regretfully told Rob Jones’ team that they must look for ‘an exit strategy’. In the meantime, the team was cut back. Six of their twelve officers were taken. They were already short of admin staff. Now they lost another and had to use a constable, who happened to be able to type, to input information into the computer.

On this limited basis, they launched a new inquiry, Operation Parallel. They drew up a list of priority targets, weeding out those whose victims were reluctant to give evidence or whose offences were historic and/or minor. In this way, they discarded some 40 of the suspects. They had done their best to satisfy themselves that they were not dangerous. It was, as one officer put it, “a harsh decision”. Now, in the final stage of the ‘exit strategy, Jones’ reduced team were given a dozen extra detectives for a single week in March this year, to arrest and process the dozen or so suspects who remained on their list.

This time, it was a very different operation. Jones’ officers knew that they were not expected to press victims for information about other offenders and other abusers. It was over. And while they made sure that they themselves dealt with Gay and Tucker, the others who were arrested were farmed out to the divisional detectives who had been temporarily attached to them – good enough officers but with no special interest in child abuse and some of them working for senior officers who were irritated to find their people being distracted by crimes that had not been committed on their division.

John Gay and Lee Tucker were tried last month (Sept) at Swindon Crown Court. After twenty years of unremitting abuse, unhindered by a single British conviction, Gay was finally sent to prison for twelve years for two counts of buggering Wayne when he was under 16, seven counts of indecently assaulting Wayne and two other under-aged boys, four counts of supplying drugs, and one count of forced buggery on the boy who had been deliberately addicted to heroin by his friend, Christopher Leek. Lee Tucker, who had similarly escaped any punishment from a British court for his long career of paedophilia, was jailed for eight years on nine counts of buggering and indecently assaulting under-aged boys as well as administering them stupefying drugs. Tucker, however, had been given bail so that he could be treated for the HIV virus and, three days before the jury’s verdict, he jumped bail and vanished. As a result of his conviction, the CPS decided not to try Gay for raping the adolescent Tony Stevens.

By the time their work was over, the Bristol Child Protection Team, with the support of Brendan Moorhouse in the CPS, presented a model for the investigation of child abuse – a 100% conviction rate against serious and unreported child abuse. Even though they had eventually run out of resources, they had torn the heart out of a sprawling network of abusers who had flourished for up to twenty years. The detectives had demonstrated the dramatic effect of proactive investigation. They had shown that boy prostitutes needed to be seen as victims and not as offenders. They had proved the value of pain-staking and time-consuming work to set up complex ‘big picture’ trials. Within the CPS, Moorhouse and two colleagues had set up special procedures to deal with child abuse and opened a hot line to encourage police get in touch at the earliest stage of inquiries. They had also started training for detectives and social workers.
And yet, none of this is standard practice in the rest of the country. Almost without exception, Child Protection Units continue to operate passively, leaving investigations to mainstream CID who are preoccupied with drugs and property crime. Even those few forces who have set up proactive units, invest only minimal resources. In the Bristol CPS, Moorhouse has made himself a specialist in the prosecution of child abuse dealing with its unusual legal rules and problems of evidence. But throughout the CPS nationally, the policy now is to move away from specialist case workers in favour of generalists.

The difference between Bristol and the standard approach was revealed with horrible clarity when they agreed to hand over to South Wales the prosecution of five offenders who lived there. Using the procedures and strategy which are routine throughout this country, South Wales lost every single case. Even Lee Tucker, who was convicted on every count he faced at Swindon Crown Court, walked away when South Wales handled him.

The political reality is that the Home Office continue to steer police resources into dealing with reported crime, like vehicle theft and burglary: the most unreported crime in the country carries little political weight. In its major 1996 inquiry, Childhood Matters, the NSPCC concluded that: “The legal system, designed to provide justice and redress for victims of abuse, is failing to do so consistently.” That warning has been repeated with some passions by Lady Justice Butler-Sloss, who wrote the report of the Cleveland child abuse scandal; Alan Levy QC, who investigated the pin-down scandal in Staffordshire; Sir William Utting, who conducted two searching reviews of child abuse. “Patent abusers are not convicted or even prosecuted,” he said. The Home Office’s own research, commissioned in 1995, concluded that they needed “a radical improvement in the investigation and prosecution of offenders” including the training of specialist prosecution barristers. The Home Office has no more listened to any of these urgent warnings that Wayne’s dad listened when the six-year-old boy was being raped by Alan Williams and his friends.

Looking back over the twenty- year orgy of destruction, the Bristol officers recalled how, by the time he was 16, Wayne was gorging himself on steroids in the hope that a bloated body might protect him from the paedophiles. It didn’t: Gay and Tucker exported him to Germany to make hard-core pornography. The detectives described how one of the victims, now in his 20s, had recently been charged with trying to murder a man – because he saw him talking to his son and thought he must be trying to abduct him. Another victim, also now adult, saw a man flicking a one-pound coin in a pub, thought he was offering to buy him and went berserk. “You would not believe the damage that stays with these victims. And basically, these men got away with it for twenty years because the police were looking at other things. And in ten or fifteen years from now, the danger is that someone else is going to have to clear out whatever mess we didn’t deal with.”

Rob Jones is still working in the Child Protection Team in Bristol. Last year, he looked around him and saw Avon and Somerset police running all kinds of crime prevention schemes. They had Horsewatch, Caravanwatch, Boatwatch, Farmwatch, schemes for burglary, schemes for car crime – but nothing to protect children. And so he devised his own package of proactive child protection to protect children from abuse, particularly in the world of sport. He called it Child Safe. It was the only such scheme in the country and, once he had set it up in Bristol, he set out to spread it to other forces and recruited a mass of footballing stars, including Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan, to help him. Some forces have now adopted it. Others are not so keen. They say it’s women’s work.

* Note that to protect their privacy, the names of all victims in this story have been changed.
Tomorrow: The Amsterdam Connection

See below for those convicted

Christopher Leek, aged 44, was jailed for 12 years after admitting six counts of forced buggery, living off male prostitution and supplying heroin. The judge said he had considered jailing him for life but had reduced the sentence because he had admitted the offences and because he had given evidence.

Tony Stevens, now 45, admitted ten counts of rape, buggery and indecent assault on boys, including the 12-year-old Wayne, and was jailed for eight years.

John Gay was jailed for 12 years on 13 counts of buggering and indecently assaulting boys – including the 12-year-old Wayne – and supplying them with drugs.

Lee Tucker was sentenced to eight years on nine similar counts. He jumped bail just before the end of the trial and has not yet been captured.

Alan ‘Elsie’ Tanner, 61, who regularly sold cannabis to children, was jailed for nine years for living off male prostitution and indecently assaulting boys, including the schoolboy who was picked up at the bus stop.

Sean Roberts, 44, was jailed for four years for indecent assault; charges of rape and buggery were not pursued.

Kevin Warfield, 39, (Kevin the Gerbil) who lived at Churchill Road, was jailed for eight years for three buggeries and two indecent assaults.

Gerry Wilkins, now aged 63, (Gerry the Dog) who lived at Churchill Road, was given two years probation for indecently assaulting the 13-year-old who was addicted to heroin by Chris Leek.
Peter Clarke, now aged 51, a regular visitor to Anchor Road, where he used his ice cream van to befriend boys, was jailed for three years for indecent assaults on five different boys; the court heard he bought sex with the 12-year-old schoolboy as a regular Friday afternoon treat. He had tried to commit more serious offences but was too obese to do so.

Brian Greenroyd, 36, who had previously been convicted of raping a woman iin 1987, was jailed for 17 months for indecent assault.

Rob Hutchings, now aged 50, who lived at 49 Churchill Road and who had been convicted of gross indecency in 1991, was given a 12 month conditional discharge for indecent assault.

Peter Purvis, probation for linked offences.