A predatory teacher who had sex with two pupils after grooming them on Bebo has been jailed.

Robert Healy, 27, targeted the teenage girls, while working at a Sussex secondary school, seducing them with flattering messages on social network sites.

One of the girls feared she was pregnant after they began having sex in the disgraced teacher's car.

Even after Healy was arrested and charged he sent an email to one of his young victims saying his love would not stop just because he was behind bars.

The father of one of the girls, speaking after Healy was sentenced to seven years in jail, said: "You send your children to school to learn and you put full trust in the school.

"I am still in shock over the whole situation. I cannot believe what happened."

His daughter wept as the teacher was sent down.

Healy, of Peakdean Lane, Friston, near Eastbourne, started work at the Bishop Bell School, Eastbourne, in May 2007 as a cover supervisor, who looks after classes when other teachers are absent.

He was sacked in August last year after his relationship with the two girls, who cannot be named, came to light.

Lewes Crown Court was told before he was dismissed for gross misconduct he had been given two informal warnings by the school about his behaviour with girls and had been advised to be careful.

But Tracey Elliott, prosecuting, said Healy befriended the girls and made contact with them through internet sites including Bebo.

One girl started a relationship with Healy in September 2007 after he contacted her by email and said she looked "stunning."

The teacher and his student would meet at the house of a friend for sex.

But the girl became worried when a neighbour found out and she feared her mother would be told. The relationship ended in January last year.

The second girl started seeing Healy after he contacted her on Christmas Day by email.

Flirty texts followed and later they started meeting up and began having sex in his car.

At one time the schoolgirl had been worried she was pregnant by the teacher.

Rob Hall, defending, said Healy was a law-abiding man who was now going to pay for what he had done for the rest of his life.

He said: "He has bought shame on himself and his family. He has a great sense of remorse for the incredibly stupid passage of his life."

Mr Hall said Healy had felt genuine affection for the two girls. He added: "He knows his life in the future is going to be difficult."

Healy admitted ten offences of having sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

Sentencing the teacher to seven years in jail, Judge Charles Kemp told Healy he had caused huge distress to the girls and their families and had committed a serious breach of the trust placed in him as a teacher.

He said: "Those girls were in your care. Instead of protecting them, as was your duty, you embarked on affairs with both of them thus abusing the trust they and their parents had put in you.

"Girls of that age can often be impressionable and vulnerable and easily flattered by young men in authority."

Judge Kemp referred to a probation report which commented that Healy appeared to have given no thought to his professional role and had become lost in the excitement of the situation.

He said: "Your pursuit of those girls could be described as predatory."

The judge imposed a sexual offences prevention order which restricts Healy's contact with children for the next ten years. He must also sign on the sex offenders register for life.

Because of the contact he was remanded in custody to prevent any further communication from him.