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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 9 April, 2003, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Checks made on porn teacher
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David Phipps downloaded images from the internet

Background checks on a teacher at a Shropshire school who paid for child pornography on the internet, had been carried out, it has been revealed.

Maths teacher David Phipps was arrested after paying up to $40 a month to download hundreds of obscene photos from American based websites in 1999.

He resigned from his post as assistant house tutor at Prestfelde School in Shrewsbury in December after the school was informed by the police that he was under investigation.

The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to four charges of making indecent photographs of children and two of possession when he appeared at Telford Magistrates Court.

Police investigation

Prestfelde School's headmaster, Jerry Bridgeland, said on Wednesday Phipps was appointed after references and police checks had been carried out.

"It is little comfort to know that the offences for which Mr Phipps pleaded guilty were committed before he came to Prestfelde," Mr Bridgeland added.

"The school was informed by the police on 21 November 2002 that Mr Phipps had become the subject of an investigation.

"As a result of that information, he was immediately suspended and ordered off the school premises pending the outcome of the investigation.

"The head teacher and governors regret any distress that this incident has caused to the school community and parents."

Phipps was detained as part of Operation Ore, a crackdown on Britons who used credit cards to access child porn on US websites.

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