Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Paedophile's image in kids' guide

Picture from the tourist guide
Harper was jailed for his offences as a paedophile

A convicted paedophile appeared in a tourist advertising brochure promoting a children's attraction, the Forest of Dean Council has admitted.

David Harper, 66, who was jailed for his offences, appears as the "Fat Controller" station master in an advert for a Thomas the Tank Engine ride.

The picture features in 50,000 copies of the Forest of Dean Tourist Guide.

A spokesman said: "It was a mistake and we hold our hands up. We have ordered all of the images to be destroyed."

Harper was sent to prison for eight years in 2007 after sexually abusing two boys aged 10 and 12 and placing 25,000 child porn images on his computer.

It is the character of the Fat Controller not the individual which is promoting the attraction
Steve Kendal, Forest of Dean Council

The council, which has ruled out recalling the brochures, has sent many across Britain at a cost of 25,000.

Steve Kendal of the Forest of Dean Council said: "In terms of a recall, we discussed it, but it is horrendously expensive and will have huge implications for our tourist trade for the coming year.

"We in no way condone what that individual did but it is important to note that he was not captioned or named in the picture and it is the character of the Fat Controller not the individual which is promoting the attraction.

"The booklet is intended to attract people from outside the area, so it is unlikely that those not living here will be aware of this man's background."

Harper, of Monmouth, south Wales, admitted gross indecency with each of the two boys, 11 offences of making indecent images of children and one of distributing an indecent image, at Gloucester Crown Court in 2007.



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