A TEACHER who committed sexual offences against a female student has been sent to prison.

Aaron Gardner pleaded guilty to six counts of abusing his role of being in a position of trust to incite a girl who was under 18 to engage in sexual activity with him.

The 32-year-old committed the crime while working at Hurstpierpoint College, an independent school near Hassocks, around seven years ago.

He appeared at Hove Crown Court where he was jailed for two years and banned from working with children indefinitely.

Detective constable Kirstie Prentice of the West Sussex safeguarding investigations unit said: "The victim reported the offending to us two years ago when she became aware that Gardner was still teaching, although by then he was at another school outside Sussex.

"We found that he had abused his position over a period of time when she was vulnerable and took advantage of this for his own gratification until she left the college.

"We had full co-operation from the college management throughout the investigation, and there is no evidence that any other students were at risk from Gardner, who had left the college some years ago and no longer works in teaching.

"We always encourage victims of sexual offending to contact us, whatever the circumstances, so that we can investigate and can also give access to sources of specialist advice and support."

Gardner, of Ashdown Close, Malvern, Worcestershire, is now a registered sex offender.

At the hearing, on September 17, he was sentenced to two years in prison and was also given a sexual harm prevention order, which will last for ten years, restricting his access to children.

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