A PAEDOPHILE'S Twitter account containing a picture of children has been suspended after the issue was raised by The Northern Echo.

Robert Fothergill, from Richmond, is facing jail after pleading guilty at Teesside Crown Court of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and the sexual assault of a child.

The former mortgage consultant worked as a child counsellor in schools across North Yorkshire and County Durham.

When parents realised that Fothergill’s Twitter account featured a large banner picture of four youngsters - who have no links to any of the matters Fothergill confessed to - they were desperate to have it removed.

Now, after The Northern Echo contacted Twitter to highlight their concerns, the account has been suspended.

Fothergill, who worked with vulnerable youngsters - including victims of abuse, bullying and those with low self-esteem - was caught by police during an investigation into the internet activities of another paedophile.

It emerged the 46-year-old married father had sent indecent images to others and discussed abusing children during chat log conversations last February.

A parent of a child in the Twitter profile picture - an account set up to promote his counselling services - said she was upset that nothing had seemed to have been done about the account by either the local authority or the police.

North Yorkshire County Council said a multi-agency team were aware of the picture and had been working to have it removed. The young people in the photo were not abused by Fothergill.

Richmond councillor Stuart Parsons said he could understand the parents’ anxiety over the photo being linked to Fothergill.

He said: “If a multi-agency team were working on having the picture removed or the account suspended, parents should have been told so they didn’t have to find out through other parents.

“The team has been investigating it but it seems odd the parents weren’t told.”

Fothergill is due to be sentenced in early June following psychiatric and probation reports, and has been remanded at HMP Hull.

A spokeswoman from North Yorkshire Police said: “Anyone affected by sexual abuse, whether it is happening now, or occurred many years ago, should not hesitate to come forward to the police on 101, or 999 if your safety is threatened, or contact one of the many agencies who can help.”

Alternatively contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire's Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) directly on 01904-669339 or www.turntobridgehouse.org.

Other organisations include: North Yorkshire's Confidential rape support line on 0300-111-0777; Independent Domestic Abuse Services (York and North Yorkshire) 03000-110-110; Domestic Abuse Services (Scarborough and Ryedale) 01723-365609; National Rape Crisis Support Line Freephone 0808-802-9999.