Sept 2003

Private tutor is on sex offenders list

A home tutor is still teaching children despite being cautioned and placed on the Sex Offenders Register following a worldwide investigation into child pornography.

John Bridge, of Cliff Avenue, Westcliff, was arrested last September by Essex Police as part of Operation Ore and was rated a “high priority” because of his home education business.

He was granted police bail until June 12 this year, when he received a police caution for possession of indecent images of children on his computer.

Although he was not charged, he was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.

Mr Bridge, 53, a former local education authority-appointed governor of Darlinghurst nursery and primary school in Leigh, has continued to run his private education business through adverts in the Yellow Pages and Echo classified and via a website.

The Evening Echo has learned he was suspended from his role as governor immediately after he was arrested.

The website includes a section on child protection and Mr Bridge writes of his time as an education welfare officer in North Lambeth.

The website also has links to sites which provide advice on protecting children from sexual abuse and internet pornography.

A reporter contacted Mr Bridge, posing as a parent who wanted their young daughter to have private lessons.

The reporter said their daughter was just nine years old and asked when the lessons should commence.

Mr Bridge said they should start immediately “to get them into the way of thinking for the exam”. He then offered to come to the parent’s home on Saturday mornings to teach the child, quoting a rate of £15 per hour.

A spokesman for Essex County Council said, as the law stands, a person placed on the Sex Offenders Register is barred from teaching in state schools.