December 2017

Paedophile worked as a caretaker in West Lothian community hall

A paedophile who worked as caretaker at a community hall used as a dance centre for young girls had images and movies of youngsters being raped and sexually abused, a court heard.

James Burns, 63, was sacked from West Lothian Council’s Bathgate Partnership Centre in West Lothian, after police raided his home and found a shocking collection of hard-core pornography.

Livingston Sheriff Court was told that Burns was caught after police raided his home and seized two Secure Digital (SD) storage cards.

They found he had saved seven video films and 10 still images of child sexual abuse on the memory cards.

Burns earlier pled guilty to possessing the indecent images at his home in West Lothian over a three-year period between 2010 and 2013.

Sentence was initially deferred for a medical report to determine the first offender’s fitness to carry out unpaid work, but his GP confirmed he was able to do some types of work.

Sheriff Martin Edington said that the positive elements in Burns’ favour included the fact that he had no previous convictions, showed some insight into the offence and was said to be “disgusted and ashamed” at his own behaviour.

On the other hand, the sheriff said, he had admitted a very serious offence, at least 10 of the movies were in the worst category and the offending had continued for three years.

He told Burns: “Offences of this type show appalling exploitation of children and they require punishment, denouncement and a general deterrence. I have to say it is with considerable hesitation I agree with the submission that you don’t in fact require to go to prison today.”

He placed Burns under social work supervision for three years and banned him from accessing the internet or being in contact with children under the age of 16 without the prior permission of his supervising officer.

He also ordered Burns to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community and put his name on the sex offenders’ register for three years.