Scout Association reassures families after Hartlepool leader's child porn shame

Scout chiefs have spoken out to reassure parents after a disgraced leader from Hartlepool admitted possessing more than 1,500 indecent images of children.

Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 1:14 pm

Nigel Shaw, 61, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after he was arrested last year.

He pleaded guilty to making 1,541 Category C images, including 12 videos, of children at Hartlepool between June 2014 and October 2021 when police turned up on his doorstep.

Shaw also admitted a second similar charge relating to making 138 Category B images comprising 130 still images and eight videos.

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Nigel Shaw covered his face as he left court.

Following his conviction, the Scout Association has moved to reassure the public by saying Shaw’s offending did not relate to any scout members.

It added that Shaw was suspended from the organisation as soon they were aware of his arrest and will now be excluded.

Niamh Reading, prosecuting in court, said Shaw was “a long-serving Scout leader” although she did not specify which group he worked with.

She added: “On October 26, 2021, police attended the defendant’s address following information from an anonymous source that the defendant had been accessing indecent images of children.

Shaw will learn his fate at Teesside Crown Court, in Middlesbrough, in August.

After informing him why they were there, Shaw directed officers to a laptop computer and external hard drive which were seized along with a CD ROM.

Ms Reading added: “Forensic analysis of three devices were found to contain indecent images of children.”

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Simon Carter, of the Scout Association, said afterwards: “The safety of young people in our care is our number one priority.

"We are aware of this case. Shaw was suspended from Scouting in October 2021 as soon as we were made aware of his arrest.

“The authorities have advised that there were no Scout members involved in his offending.

“Following his court appearance, Shaw will be excluded from Scouting and he will never volunteer with us again.

“The Scout Association has clear safeguarding procedures that all our leaders must comply with and we carry out stringent vetting of all adults who work with young people."

Shaw, of Hayston Road, Hartlepool was bailed until next month when he will learn his fate.

Magistrates decided to send the case to Teesside Crown Court as they felt their sentencing powers were insufficient for the seriousness of the offences.

He faces anything from a high-level community order to up to 18 months in prison.

Ms Reading told court: “The crown say it is aggravated due to the large number of images and videos, and they were accessed over a long period of time.

"Further by the defendant’s position as a scout leader having access to boys of a similar age to those found in the indecent images.”

Following his guilty pleas, he must now sign the sex offenders’ register.

Chair of the bench Mohammed Imam said: “You have pleaded guilty to two offences but our powers are limited for sentencing.

"We will need to send this to the crown court to be sentenced on August 9 at 2pm.”

Alex Bousfield, defending, said the number of unique images that Shaw had was “significantly less” than set out in the charges due to some being duplicates.

Details the Scout Association’s safeguarding policies are available at www.scouts.org.uk/por/2-key-policies/safeguarding-policy/.