Man charged with sexual offences

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A man has been charged with sexual offences against boys following a number of offences taken place in Broadbridge Heath, say Sussex Police.

Robert Coles, 71, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne has been charged today (Thursday August 16).

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “The charges allege that he committed: 13 assaults on a boy then aged between 15 and 16 at a location in Chichester between 1982 and 1984. They comprise three offences of buggery, one of attempted buggery, and nine of indecent assault; eight offences of indecent assault on another boy then aged between ten and 13 at locations in Broadbridge Heath in West Sussex, Devon, Cornwall and the Isle of White between 1978 and 1981 and; eight offences of indecent assault on another boy then aged between ten and 13 at locations in Broadbridge Heath in West Sussex, Somerset and Devon between 1978 and 1982.

He continued: “He had been arrested on March 6, had been on conditional police bail since then, and was charged following further police interviews after he answered his bail today.

“He was released on conditional police bail today (Thursday August 16) and is due to appear at an initial hearing at Chichester Magistrates Court at 9.15am on Wednesday September 5.

“The charges, authorised by the South East Complex Case Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service, follow a nine month enquiry by Sussex Police detectives into these allegations.

He added: “None of the charges relate to any allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any children are currently at risk.”

A special helpline exists for anyone who feels they need support or advice when learning of such cases. The helpline is manned by staff at the NSPCC and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calls are handled sensitively and confidentially.

Where appropriate, callers are referred to specially trained police officers and, if required, a range of local counselling services, who can offer expert support to those who come forward. The helpline number is 0800 389 5344.