Trainee charged with taking indecent photos of children at school remains in custody

A 19-year-old school trainee at a Lincoln village school charged with making and taking indecent pictures of children remains in custody ahead of a Crown Court hearing.

The Lincolnite is not naming the school due to legal constraints which could identify the victim(s).

Lincolnshire Police received information from an American law enforcement agency that illegal images of children were being downloaded at an address on Cliff Lane in Welton.

Lewis Croft, 19, was identified as working on a temporary placement within a reception class at the school on a part-time basis since November 2018.

Police raided Lewis Croft’s home address on July 23, 2019 and arrested him on suspicion of downloading illegal images of children.

Three devices were seized and examined, and photos taken inside the school were also found.

Croft was further arrested on Tuesday, August 20 and subsequently charged with a total of nine offences under the Protection of Children Act 1978.

  • two counts of making a Category A indecent photo of a child
  • two counts of making a Category B indecent photo of a child
  • two counts of making a Category C indecent photo of a child
  • three counts of taking a Category C indecent photo of a child at a primary school

The taking of these images appears to have happened on three separate occasions between May 2019 and July this year, police said.

After appearing at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Wednesday, August 21, Croft was remanded in custody.

The case has been transferred to Lincoln Crown Court for sentencing on a date yet to be determined.

As previously reported, Lincolnshire Police wrote letters to parents and guardians of children attending the school, which were received on Wednesday, August 21, regarding the finalised police investigation.

A co-ordinated effort was made by police on Wednesday, August 21 to ensure all parents/guardians of the identified child from the images have been updated in person by their investigation teams.

Those unable to be located are subject to continued follow-up attempts until police have spoken to everyone involved.

In an attached letter, the school spoke of its “state of shock and disbelief at what has happened” and said “we can come together as a community to support each other and focus on the children returning to school in September as they move into their new classes.”

Detective Inspector Dan Boulter, Senior Investigating Officers at Lincolnshire Police said: “Croft has clearly had a plan to put himself front line and centre to work with children.

“He was training to work within the child care arena and during that training he worked on a school placement.

“We have worked quickly to stop Croft in his tracks and he will no longer have access to young people.

“He had enrolled on a childcare course at college and as part of that he undertook a placement at a school. The images he took at the school were taken between May and July 2019.

“We are working closely with the school to keep those involved updated and answer any questions they have. We continue to provide support where it is needed.

“The school has robust safeguarding practices in place and are completing a full review.

“This news will come as a shock for all of those connected to the school and I recognise the impact this may have.

“This has been a priority investigation to make sure Lewis Croft could be brought to justice as soon as possible.

“I ask that the privacy of those involved is respected and remind people it is unlawful to identify any child or young person involved.”