A CHURCH knew that one of its members was suspected of sexual offences against young boys but did nothing to tell the police, a court heard.

The revelation was made in Aylesbury Crown Court on Friday as Judge Seddon Cripps jailed paedophile Richard Webb for nine years.

Webb, pictured, 68, of Bellingdon Road, Chesham, was sent down for 19 counts of indecent assault and indecency against 11 young boys between 1978 and 1998. The youngest boy was just nine-years-old.

It was claimed in court that Chesham Methodist Church, where he was a member, knew of the allegations against him, but didn't tell the authorities.

Webb had already served time in prison for offences against 13 other victims before he was released in 1975.

He moved to Chesham and was a founder member of an activity group affiliated with the Methodist church, the court heard.

It was in Chesham that he began a new wave of abuse. Judge Cripps told the court: "The church knew of the allegations and didn't inform the authorities.

"No one did anything and on you went with your repulsive actions.

"This resulted with the children abused by yourself being affected in different ways."

The court heard that after Webb's last offence in 1998 a contract was drawn up with the church to stop him meeting child members. At the time Webb was working as an assistant manager in Chesham Dairy.

Amjad Malik, defending, said: "He signs documentation with the church that he is not going to have any contact with children on a one-to-one basis.

"He ensures that he does not have any contact with children at work. "

His final victim, a teenager, reported him to police in 1998, but there was insufficient evidence and the case was dropped.

It only resurfaced because Webb walked into a police station on November 15 last year and handed them a list of ten boys whom he had sexually assaulted. This included the name of the boy.

Merril Hughes, prosecuting, said: "It was through that list police were able to trace other victims and get additional statements. "

Webb, who is married, admitted abusing the ten boys after initially admitting to police in September last year that he had abused another boy.

This boy, who was 13, had tried to kill himself twice, the court heard.

Webb also abused an nine-year-old over a five year period, the court heard. He had befriended the boy's family.

Judge Cripps said: "He became literally your sex toy until he reached the age of 14, said enough is enough, and you stopped."

Mr Malik said Webb wasn't proud of himself.

He said: "He doesn't validate his addiction in anyway, He expresses complete regret for the way he is made."

Judge Cripps said several of the victims now hated Chesham because of the bad memories.

He said: "One resorted to comfort eating becoming obese.

"These are people whose lives you have completely ruined forever. You obviously have to go to custody."

church denies cover-up