'A predatory paedophile': Jailed ex-PCSO Gary Hastings worked with children
A FORMER police community support officer (PCSO) has been jailed for ten years for sex attacks on two children.
Gary Hastings, a former PCSO with Humberside Police, was described as a "predatory paedophile" by the Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst.
Hastings, 48, pleaded guilty last month to seven charges of sexual activity with two boys, both under 16.
He nodded his head and showed no emotion as Judge Ashurst said he would be jailed for ten years.
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One of the victims told police Hastings had "completely messed up his life" and had left him feeling "ashamed and dirty".
York Crown Court heard Hastings has worked with children for most of his life, including in care homes in Hornsea and Withernsea and for Hull City Council's youth offending team.
Judge Ashurst said: "You were in a position of responsibility as far as the public was concerned. That would make it more difficult for your victims to make a complaint to the authorities.
"In your role assisting in enforcing the law, there is simply no excuse. You should have realised offending of this level was a serious crime."
Hastings joined the force in 2008 and was employed as a PCSO in the Immingham neighbourhood policing team on the south bank.
He was suspended from the force in August after the allegations came to light and he has since resigned.
Prosecutor Simon Kealey said Hastings met one of the boys on a gay website called Fit Lads. They later exchanged more than 1,000 text messages and phone calls and the boy visited Hastings's home in Wright Street, city centre, wearing his school uniform.
Mr Kealey said: "When he did, the defendant asked him to change because he didn't want people to think he was a paedophile."
On the website, Hastings said he was a 19-year-old cop and asked for "younger males" to get in touch.
Hastings's barrister Mark McKone said his client would find prison life difficult.
"He is in the worst possible position imaginable as far as his status in prison goes, having been both a police officer and a sexual offender with young boys."
Judge Ashurst ordered Hastings to be banned from working with children and sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.
He said: "This is an extremely serious case and a lengthy prison sentence is the only appropriate punishment."
Hastings was also made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order, designed to limit his contact with children under 16.
The former PCSO was also employed as a foster carer by the private agency Kindercare, which provides foster carers for children in local authority care, and has looked after children on behalf of East Riding Council.
Alison Michalska, director of children, family and adult services at East Riding council, said: "The council did use Kindercare as a fostering agency and placed children with them in good faith.
"East Riding Safeguarding Children Board will examine the circumstances of this case to consider if there are any lessons for agencies to learn."
A spokesman for Kindercare said: "All the required statutory checks were made on his background and previous history and references were taken from friends and employers. No issues were identified that would have precluded him from becoming a carer."
A spokesman for Hull City Council confirmed he was employed on a "sessional basis" in the youth offending team from 2004 to 2008, having undergone standard vetting procedures.