One of the county’s longest serving social workers has been struck off for his sexual interest in young girls.
A Health and Social Care Professions Council (HSCPC) disciplinary panel heard Stephen Charles Sambrook searched the internet online for schoolgirl related websites.
Sambrook, a social worker in the county for 35 years, was caught out after contacting another man looking to explore “sensual fantasies”.
That man, the panel heard, appeared as a 14-year-old on his on-line profile and was later arrested for possessing indecent images of children. Evidence of contact with Sambrook was on the man’s computer.
Sambrook was neither present or represented at the hearing.
The panel concluded that - on the balance of probability - Sambrook’s actions were “sexually motivated” and he was struck off for misconduct.
A police report put to the panel outlined Sambrook as using search terms with references to young girls, pre-teens and schoolgirls.
Sambrook, the panel heard, started in the county as a social worker in 1977. Since 1997, he had worked with the “East Department Mental Health Older People” team.
Sambrook’s internet searches were uncovered when he was arrested and his computer seized.
However, the panel heard that no indecent images of children were found on the computer and no further action was taken by the police.
Sambrook resigned as a social worker in June 2012.
In a statement this morning Herefordshire Council said Sambrook was suspended as soon as the allegations against him were made.
The statement said the council “co-operated fully” with the police during their investigations, provided supporting evidence to the HSCPC, and undertook its own internal investigations which lead to Sambrook leaving the authority in June 2012.
The council, the statement said, took “appropriate action” to make sure that none of those Sambrook worked with were put at risk or compromised in any way.