Police have welcomed the jailing of former Wiltshire secondary school teacher Alexander Thomas, who was found guilty of various sex offences involving pupils.

And his victims, who were forced to relive their ordeals in court because Thomas denied his crimes, were praised for their courage.

Detective Constable Angela Spray, Wiltshire Police Child Abuse Investigator, said: “Today at Swindon Crown Court, Alexander Thomas, 30, of Queen Elizabeth Drive, Swindon, has been sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment after being found guilty of a number of offences relating to inciting children to engage in sexual activity and abusing his position of trust.

“Thomas worked as a secondary school teacher in Wiltshire where he systematically abused the position of trust he was in to prey on vulnerable, underage children for his own sexual gratification.

“Thomas groomed his victims and encouraged them to engage in sexual acts after gaining their confidence and trust.

“He has refused to take any responsibility for his actions and has forced his victims to relive their suffering and give evidence in court.

“I would like to personally thank all of the victims who have shown courage by coming to court to give evidence.

“This case highlights Wiltshire Police’s dedication to work with our partner agencies to safeguard children and vulnerable people in our county.

“The sentence handed down today by the judge reflects the serious nature of these crimes and the impact they have had on the victims.

“I would urge anyone who has been the victim of any sexual assault to contact Wiltshire Police immediately – we have dedicated officers who are specially trained to help those who have been abused.

“Anyone wishing to report a crime should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.”

Victims can also seek support and counselling from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at the New Swindon Sanctuary, The Gables, Shrivenham Road, Swindon.

SARC is a dedicated centre offering support to any victim of a sexual assault where trained professionals can provide immediate medical care and treatment, a forensic examination, counselling and onward referral to other necessary services.

SARC offers a 24-hour helpline on 0808 168 0024 or log onto www.newswindonsanctuary.co.uk