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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
'Scout leader' guilty of sex offences
David Ferron
David Ferron took boys camping to Wales
A self-styled scout leader from Greater Manchester has been found guilty of 34 charges of making or taking indecent photographs.

David Ferron, 53, created a breakaway military-style scout group in order to secretly film naked boys.

Detectives raided the 5th Phoenix Rangers group in Durnford Street, Middleton, after a photo processing centre discovered a film showing boys dressed in boxer shorts.

Sentencing was adjourned until 16 August, but Ferron will have to sign the Sex Offenders Register.


We would all have a laugh and a joke

Boy's mother

He was allowed to keep his home address in Oldham secret.

After the trial at Manchester Crown Court one of the boys mother's said: "We thought our lad would be totally safe with him.

"Ferron would come to our house for sandwiches and a cup of tea.

"We would all have a laugh and a joke as he effectively stole our trust."

Unofficial club

Ferron had been a registered scout leader for 34 years when 5th Middleton Cub and Scout group split in 1997.

The court was told he took charge of an independent breakaway organisation linked to the National Youth Association but not affiliated to the Scout Movement.

He lived on the premises and was in charge of boys as young as six.

Detectives found photographs, a video, and computer discs, and the court was told some boys looked asleep in the photographs.

Police also seized indecent photographs taken from internet sites.

Children's environment

A home made video showed youngsters showering, and pornographic stories - one entitled "My First Scout Camp" - were also recovered.

Ferron denied all the charges.

Remanding him in custody Judge Jonathan Geake said: "This is a tragic case for you and it is no less tragic for everyone else involved."

Detective Constable Vincent Maitland from Greater Manchester Police said: "Ferron is an extremely manipulative and cunning man, who deliberately set out to create an environment which would attract children."

Police said Ferron could have gone on offending if he had not been caught when he was.

Detective Constable Jacky Abbott added: "We are always worried about things like that... it is difficult to say how far things like this will progress."


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