A child care specialist and sessional playworker employed by Doncaster Council was yesterday jailed for six weeks after pleading guilty to five counts of making indecent images of children.
Michael Tombs, 33, who has a childcare company bearing his name, made 397 photos of children between 1 May 2006 and April last year.
He pleaded not guilty to a further charge of possessing an indecent photograph of a child. Tombs was disqualified from working with children.
Doncaster Council criticised media reports describing Tombs as a “social worker” which linked the case to recently publicised problems in child protection services, and said he had not been employed in this capacity.
It confirmed that Tombs was a sessional worker employed by the councils’ children’s disability service between May 2003 and March 2008, where his work involved playgroups and holiday schemes. He also undertook sessional activity work, where the council said he had unsupervised contact with a “small number” of young people. Tombs resigned in March 2008 due to ill health.
A Doncaster children’s services spokesperson said: “We made stringent checks on Michael Tombs and there was no way anyone could have known about this hidden side of his character.
“Mr Tombs was a well-known childcare specialist who worked with a variety of local authorities and other organisations nationally. Prior to Mr Tombs starting work with Doncaster Council we carried out a full CRB check and received two positive references – one from the managing director of his employer at the time and one from the head teacher of a nursery school.”
The General Social Care Council confirmed that Tombs had never been a registered social worker.
The latest news comes just weeks after the chair of Doncaster local safeguarding children board warned that negative publicity on recent serious case reviews was deterring children’s social workers from applying to the council.