A primary school lunch supervisor has been charged with grooming a child following a sting by a group of vigilante paedophile hunters.
Edward Hartfield, who works at St Luke’s Primary School as a lunchtime supervisor and at its after school club, was arrested by Sussex Police at the Old Steine on Saturday night.
The 26-year-old, of McWilliam Road, Woodingdean, was charged earlier today and will appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on February 14.
The school is now informing parents of the allegations, and reassuring them that the charges are not connected to the school.
Headteacher Jonathan Cooper wrote: “These allegations have been investigated by the police, and charges have now been brought in relation to inappropriate activity on social media.
“We suspended the member of staff as soon as we became aware of the allegations, and have fully cooperated with the police investigation.
“We would like to reassure you that the allegations that have been have made and the charges that have been brought do not relate to the member of staff’s work at the school.
“There is no evidence that any member of our school community has been targeted or affected by the alleged activities.
“We are not able to comment on the allegations or specific details, because doing so could jeopardise the legal proceedings.
“We appreciate that you may find this information distressing. Please be assured that your child’s safety and welfare continues to be our absolute priority and our safeguarding procedures are audited annually and robust.”
A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “Police attended the Old Steine, Brighton, around 7pm on Saturday (January 26) to reports of a man acting suspiciously.
“Edward Hartfield, 26, a child carer of McWilliam Road, Brighton has been charged with attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child. He will next appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on February 14.”
Hartfield, who has been working at the school for a number of years, was featured in the Argus as one of the city’s 28 happiest humans in 2015 in a list compiled with the Happy List Brighton project.
He was selected for his work with young people, his ‘can do’ attitude and inspiring other people to overcome challenges.
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