Police find child porn at Portsmouth teaching assistant’s home

CHARGE Robert Hollins admits having indecent images of children
CHARGE Robert Hollins admits having indecent images of children

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A TEACHING assistant and children’s carer has been caught with child pornography.

Police found the photos at Robert Hollins’ home after a parent made a complaint about the 54-year-old.

Hollins admitted having the indecent images and has been banned from working with children.

Before his arrest he had worked as a teaching assistant at Mary Rose Special School, in Gisors Road, Southsea, and volunteered at St Francis Special School, in Oldbury Way, Fareham.

A parent, whose son goes to St Francis School, said: ‘It’s absolutely appalling.

‘We trusted him but this man should never have been able to work with vulnerable, young children.’

Hollins, who is not facing any charges as a result of the investigation into the parent’s complaint, was a carer for disabled children.

He also worked at Kids, in Salterns Lane, Fareham, a charity which helps children with disabilities, and at Beechside respite home for children, in Havant Road, Drayton.

Those who worked with Hollins have moved to reassure the public that they carried out all the necessary checks on him.

Stephen Kitchman, head of children’s social care at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Mr Hollins didn’t start work until the agency had received his Criminal Records Bureau checks and at least two references.

‘Neither demonstrated any previous convictions, or cause for concern.

‘Following the police’s investigation, none of the charges relates to young people who have used Beechside.

‘The safeguarding of children is our priority and this includes making sure those working with children are subject to strict recruitment criteria.’

Matthew Wilkinson, from Kids where Hollins worked from August 2008 to August 2010, said: ‘Prior to employing Mr Hollins the charity adhered to its selection policies and procedures.

‘These include carrying out an enhanced CRB check for each worker, and requesting and checking references from previous employers.’

Headteacher of Mary Rose School Alison Beane said Hollins worked as a teaching assistant for a day a week with sixth form students and was always supervised.

‘None of the charges relates to pupils at the school,’ she said.

‘Robert Hollins wasn’t working at the school at the time of his arrest, he had left.

‘There was no record of previous convictions in his CRB.’

Julie Sloan, a spokeswoman for Hampshire County Council, said Hollins worked at St Francis Special School as a volunteer one afternoon a week.

‘All of their volunteers are CRB checked and never left on their own with the children,’ she said.

Hollins, of Deerhurst Crescent, Paulsgrove, pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of indecent images of children.

He was given a 12-month community order at Portsmouth Crown Court, which will include a year of supervision from the probation service, and told to pay £200 in costs.

He will also have to sign on to the sex offenders’ register for the next five years.