THE founding chairman of the National Training and Enterprise Council has been jailed for two years after being convicted of a string of sex offences against a vulnerable young girl.

Edward Roberts, who was awarded the CBE for services to industry in 1991, was found guilty of two counts of indecency with a child and two counts of indecent assault after a seven day trial at Aylesbury Crown Court.

He committed the offences against the girl in south Bucks more than thirty years ago - starting when she was just 12 years old.

Judge Joanna Cutts QC told Roberts, now aged 72: "You used every moment of stolen time when your family were elsewhere. The abuse was regular and whenever you saw her you took your opportunity.

"She made clear in her evidence she adored you and the attention you gave her and didn't believe she was being abused, but abuse it was. The fact it wasn't forced is of limited mitigation. You took advantage of that young girl's vulnerability.

"She's been affected throughout her life by what you did."

Judge Cutts said she had to sentence Roberts - a treasurer at a church near his home in Grafton Flyford, Worcestershire - using guidelines that were in place at the time the offences were committed. She said the maximum sentence then was five years' imprisonment; today it is ten.

Roberts, who had no previous convictions, was jailed for a total of two years for the offences, half of which will be served on licence.