Doncaster Council say they were 'not aware' of the sex offences a teacher had committed against pupils at a South Yorkshire school when he was chosen to run their new £21,000 market stall.
Luke Cannon, 27, was sentenced to a community order and 125 hours of unpaid work during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday, after he admitted to three sex offences committed against two pupils who attended the South Yorkshire school he worked at.
It emerged today that Cannon, of Sandcliffe Road, Wheatley Hills, Doncaster opened a new business called Cannon's Seafood Bar and Delicatessen at Doncaster Market last week to a storm of publicity.
The council confirmed this afternoon that they invested some £21,759 in the new hot food outlet currently used by Cannon - but said they were only made aware of his offences after the Free Press published the story yesterday.
The council owns the stall and the equipment being used at the stall operated by Cannon. A spokesman said no payment has been made to Cannon directly.
David Wilkinson, Assistant Director of Trading and Property Services for Doncaster Council, said: “We were as surprised as everyone when these revelations came to light, and will be seeking to establish the full facts and undertake any necessary actions over the coming days and weeks.”
He added: "Yesterday (February 13) an article was published online regarding the conviction of Mr Luke Cannon, which we understand relates to three sexual offences committed against young people under 18 years of age.
“Our first thoughts are with the victims of Mr Cannon’s offences.
“The council was not aware of the offences committed by Mr Cannon until the information became public this week. We understand that the offences relate to his previous work in an educational establishment outside Doncaster.
“We can confirm that Cannon’s Sea Food Bar and Delicatessen has recently opened a new stall at Doncaster Market. In line with other commercial investments being undertaken by the council, and our market regeneration programme, the council invested £21,759 in development of the hot food outlet that is currently used by Cannon’s Sea Food Bar and Delicatessen. No payment has been made to Cannon’s Sea Food Bar and Delicatessen. The council owns the stalls and the equipment.
“We were as surprised as everyone when these revelations came to light, and will be seeking to establish the full facts and undertake any necessary actions over the coming days and weeks.”
As part of Cannon's mitigation his barrister, Ian Goldsack, argued that the two people employed by Cannon would be at risk of losing their jobs should he receive an immediate custodial sentence. The name of his business was not mentioned in court.
Judge Graham Reeds QC sentenced Luke Cannon of Sandcliffe Road, Wheatley Hills, Doncaster to a community order and 125 hours of unpaid work after the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to a string of sex offences including causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
During Monday's hearing, prosecutor, James Baird, told the court how Cannon's offences were committed against two pupils, a girl under the age of 16, and a boy over the age of 16, who attended the South Yorkshire school he taught at.
They were committed during 2015 and 2016, the court heard.
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