Male employee arrested over sex offences at Torquay nursery

5 November 2019, 11:53

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A male employee has been arrested on suspicion of a series of sexual offences against children at a nursery in Devon.

Police launched an investigation on July 29 after a child at Jack and Jill Childcare in Torquay made an allegation of a serious sexual assault.

Police said a male was arrested on the same day and was subsequently released on bail.

Officers said the person was subject to "strict bail conditions" and that he had been "moved out of the force area" as the investigation continues.

Devon and Cornwall police said today that they believe "a number of children aged 2+ have been identified as potential victims of contact offences."

Officers said they had reviewed more than 250 hours of CCTV footage which led them to believe more than one child could have been a victim.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector James Stock said: "We have now contacted all the parents and guardians of children who attend Jack and Jill Childcare in relation to our investigation. Specialist officers from the Public Protection Unit and our colleagues from social services have visited the parents and guardians of those children we believe may be victims."

The detective said, "contact appears to be limited to within the nursery setting."

A/DCI Stock stressed these "appear to be the actions of a lone individual," adding "the offences do not involve the taking or distributing of any images."

Nancy Meehan, Deputy Director from Torbay Children’s services, told LBC News they were working alongside partner agencies to support families of those who have been identified as victims.

The local authority has set up a helpline for those who are concerned they may have been impacted by the allegations.

Mrs Meehan said as far as Torbay Children's services were aware "all the families have been contacted that attended the particular nursery."

A helpline has been set up for anyone who may have concerns.

This can be accessed on 01803 208 820 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

The nursery in Torquay
The nursery in Torquay. Picture: Google Maps

Following the initial investigation, education watchdog Ofsted visited the nursery and on Thursday the 24th of October decided to suspend its license.

An Ofsted spokesman said: "Jack and Jill Childcare (URN EY553573) is suspended. All parents of children who attend the provider have been informed."

Devon and Cornwall police said enquiries are ongoing.

DevonLive reported a statement on the nursery's website originally said: "Jack and Jill has been looking after children for 15 years. This allegation is devastating and our thoughts are with all concerned.

"The nursery is co-operating fully with the police, Ofsted and the local authority.

"As soon as the allegation was made, we followed our procedures and suspended a member of staff pending investigation."

The nursery's website is now no longer online but it stated that it cared for children from a very young age up until the age of five.