A POUND shop worker has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl inside the store.

Mubarak Besada, 52, denied touching the girl’s breasts and putting his hand in her pants at the Poundzone store in Boundary Road, Hove.

But District Judge Tessa Szagun ruled Besada did “take advantage of a young and vulnerable girl”.

The shop worker, described as the “best employee ever” by the shop’s owner, is now facing up to six months in jail.

Besada targeted the girl, who has learning difficulties, when she visited the store with her three-year-old nephew on October 16 last year.

Brighton Magistrates’ Court was shown CCTV of Besada kissing her shortly after entering the store. The girl claimed that the 52-year-old touched her in an aisle away from the CCTV camera.

She said the shopworker, who she frequently saw when she visited the store with her mother, purposely threw a ball to distract her nephew to allow him a chance to grope her.

Besada admitted sexually assaulting the girl by kissing her but pleaded not guilty to further sexually assaulting her by touching her breasts and bottom.

The court had heard the girl did not alert other customers and her body language did not appear to show she was distressed.

The court also heard she had been deemed an unreliable witness in an unrelated case and was known to make up fantasy stories according to school reports.

But Judge Szagun said CCTV showed the 14-year-old girl pulling away, and Besada could be seen waiting for people to leave the shop to embrace her, even tilting his head on two occasions to kiss the girl.

She ruled Besada groped the girl and called his behaviour “extremely inappropriate”.

She said: “In short I find his behaviour as demonstrated on CCTV was extremely inappropriate in any circumstances, let alone in a working environment with a young woman caring for a young child. Your behaviour was driven by sexual attraction and desire.

“I saw clear evidence of the girl looking uncomfortable and trying to pull away. Given this and the obvious disparity in ages, the inappropriate circumstances of the embraces and the fact he tried to minimise the extent of contact between them, I find beyond reasonable doubt he did not reasonably believe she was consenting to his advances and he was taking advantage of a young and vulnerable girl.

"I find him guilty on all charges.”

Besada of Chailey Road, Brighton, will be sentenced later this month for three counts of sexual assault.