Paedophile had fostered more than 20 children

A PAEDOPHILE exposed grooming a teenager on the internet had fostered more than 20 children, it emerged yesterday.

Former pub landlord David Anthony Roberts, 69, was brought to justice after his wife posed as a 14-year-old girl in a chat-room and lured him into performing a sex act on himself and sending her explicit messages.

It emerged yesterday the couple were re-applying to be foster parents at the time after being suspended two years ago when Roberts was accused of sexually abusing one of the children in their care.

Roberts and his wife Cheryl began fostering children for Bridgend council in 2003, and took in 22 of both sexes up to the age of 14 over four years. They were registered to look after up to four children at any one time.

But they were suspended in 2007, when one of the children in their care made a complaint of sexual abuse against Roberts and all children who were at the home were moved to alternative carers. Social services have since investigated and spoken to all the children.

A spokesman for the authority said: “If any concerns of a child protection nature arise about a foster carer, a procedure is immediately launched which includes considering and assessing all children with whom the carer has been in contact. This was followed in this particular case.”

South Wales Police launched an immediate investigation but decided not to charge Roberts. The couple’s suitability as foster parents was been reassessed when Cheryl went to the police with her shocking discovery.

Roberts, of Pant Street, Pantygog, Bridgend, was spared jail by Cardiff Crown Court after he admitted eight charges related to making and possessing indecent images of children and attempting to engage in a sexual act in the presence of a child.

He was given a three-year community order, with compulsory attendance on a sex offenders’ programme. He must also sign on the sex offenders’ register for five years and have no future internet contact with anyone under 18.

A spokesman for Bridgend Borough Council said “rigorous procedures” were followed for recruitment and selection of its foster carers.