January 2019

Former town councillor jailed after subjecting teenage girls to “humiliating” abuse

A former town councillor has been jailed after subjecting teenage girls to “humiliating” abuse for his own sexual pleasure.

James Anderson will be registered as a sex offender for life after being sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for the offences in Uckfield.

The 34-year-old previously owned a shop in the town, and had been elected to the town council. He had also worked as a manager at a garden centre in Crawley.

But now he is disgraced after it was revealed how he preyed upon naive and trusting girls between 2014 and 2017.

Judge Jeremy Gold imposed the sentence at Hove Crown Court on Wednesday after Anderson admitted six offences in November last year.

They included two charges of sexual activity with one child below the age of 16, and one charge of sexual activity with another child below the age of 16.

He also admitted two charges of sexual assault against two of the girls, and one charge of causing a person to engage in a sexual act without consent.

Meanwhile he denied four charges, one of which related to a fourth girl, which the Judge has ordered to remain on his file.

Police say he will be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which will severely restrict his access to women and girls under the age of 16 until further notice.

Detective Constable Jeanette Reilly from the Safeguarding Investigations Unit worked on the inquiry, which was first revealed in March last year.

The detective said: “Anderson preyed upon naive and trusting young girls who he got to know over a period of time though his work, and subjected them to humiliating and distressing experiences for his own sexual gratification.”

She said Anderson, of Michelham Road in Uckfield, is no longer a town councillor, and no longer owns the shop in the town.