A former scout leader and teacher sexually abused three boys over a 16-year-period.

Peter Wells, 72, of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was convicted yesterday of abusing the boys between 1974 to 1992 in Enfield - The victims were between eight and 13 years old.

He was convicted with seven counts of indecent assault and five of gross indecency after a two-week trial at Wood Green Crown Court.

Wells sexually abused the boys when he worked as a teacher at Keble Preparatory school in Enfield, as a scout leader within the district of Edmonton in the 1970s, and also as an athletics coach for Enfield and Haringey Athletics.

Police began an investigation in March 2017 after one of the victims reported the crimes to the police.

The two other victims were also approached and assisted police.

The first victim, now in his 50s, reported that Wells had taken an “unhealthy interest” in him when he was a pupil at Keble Preparatory School.

Wells abused him on several occasions on school trips and after athletics sessions during a seven-year period.

A second pupil said Wells abused him over a four-year period during his time at the school.

The victim, now in his 40s, said Wells put his hand inside his clothing an inappropriately touched him on numerous occasions.

The third victim, also in his 50s, said Wells abused him during his short time as a cub scout whilst Wells was scout leader.

Wells was arrested on March 24, 2017 and denied the allegations of sexual abuse.

He is in custody and will be sentenced on December 7.

An NSPCC spokeswoman said: “Wells despicably abused his position of trust to abuse three children and was cowardly in denying responsibility all these years later.

“The victims were incredibly brave to speak up, and we hope this case shows that survivors of abuse will be listened to and supported no matter how long ago the abuse happened.

“It’s so important that children know what abuse is from an early age, which is why the NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe service teaches primary school to recognise and report abuse.”

Adult survivors of non-recent abuse, or anyone concerned about a child, can call our helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111.