A number of children aged two and over have been identified as potential victims of sexual abuse by a male nursery worker at Jack and Jill Childcare nursery in Torquay.

Police received information in July 2019 and arrested a male suspect in his teens in connection with the alleged sexual assaults. The suspect has been released on bail until later this month under conditions banning him from entering the area around the nursery.

Police have contacted more than 100 families whose children attended the nursery in Torquay, although around a dozen are believed to have been directly affected. A multi-agency response involving the police, local authority, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and Ofsted is investigating and a number of children have been identified as potential victims.

Acting detective chief inspector James Stock, of the public protection unit, said:

“Since the information was received in July, a police investigation has been ongoing. As part of this, over 250 hours of CCTV from within Jack and Jill Childcare have been reviewed. As a result of CCTV enquires, a number of children aged two years plus have been identified as potential victims of contact offences.”

“Specialist officers from the Public Protection Unit and our colleagues from social services have visited the parents and guardians of those children we believe may be victims. They will continue to receive multi-agency support in the coming days, weeks and months.

“The contact appears to be limited to within the nursery setting and we do not believe that any other member of staff had knowledge of these matters. These appear to be the actions of a lone individual, and the offences do not involve the taking or distributing of any images.”

After the police investigation was launched, Ofsted carried out a series of visits and on 11 October, it served a welfare requirement notice. The watchdog has now suspended the nursery's registration.

A helpline has been set up by the Torbay Safeguarding Children’s Partnership and anyone who may have concerns can call 01803 208820 between 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

Last reviewed 11 November 2019