A FORMER lollipop man who claimed he "loved kids" is facing jail after admitting a series of vile sex attacks against young girls.
Ian Middleton, aged 51, of Green Road, Penistone, ran a shop with his wife and family, was heavily involved in a youth theatre group and used to hand out bags of sweets to local children.
Middleton, originally from Bolton-on-Dearne, was also a respected pub licensee and even helped raise 3,000 for a new play area in Penistone – but he kept his sick perversions secret from families who trusted him to help schoolchildren cross the road.
He pleaded guilty to 14 charges of sexual assault on a girl under 13 and two charges of sexual activity with a girl under 16 at Sheffield Crown Court.
He took on the part-time lollipop man role while he was landlord of the Britannia Pub, on Sheffield Road.
Middleton said at the time: "I love the kids to bits and they love me. Every time we break up I take little bags of sweets for them and put a Father Christmas outfit on."
Neighbours said they were shocked by Middleton's admissions, with one parent claiming he regularly allowed youths to gather in the back room at Waddie's shop.
A nearby elderly couple said: "He was very outgoing and was a bit over the top, but that was Ian. Thinking about it, he did seem very child-orientated. I feel upset now and a part of me doesn't want to believe it. He used to help us during the winter and cleared the snow for us, delivered us potatoes, things like that."
Middleton denied four further child sex charges, which may still be taken into consideration. He was denied bail and will be sentenced on February 8.
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