A GALASHIELS pensioner has been jailed for historical sex offences against young girls.

James Forsyth, 74, pleaded guilty to engaging in lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards four females in the Langlee area of Galashiels in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was sentenced in Jedburgh Sheriff Court to 27 months in prison.

Sheriff Peter Paterson said Forsyth's actions had had a "devastating" impact.

The court was told the first offence happened at a house in Marmion Road, Galashiels, on various occasions between June 1973 and June 1975 involving a girl aged 13 or 14

at the time.

He made remarks of a sexual nature towards her, showed her porn magazines, unzipped his trousers and carried out a sex act in front of her and forced her to carry out a sex act on him.

Between May and December 1976 at a house in Kenilworth Avenue, he induced a girl aged 13 or 14 at the time to handle his private parts over his clothing.

At a house in Brier Lane in 1978 and 1979 he pulled down his trousers in front of an 11-year-old girl and asked her to touch his exposed private parts.

At the same house in 1980 and 1981 he made remarks of a sexual nature to a 14-year-old girl, exposed himself to her and seized her hand and forced her to

carry out a sex act on him.

The court heard that Forsyth would tell the girls he had broken the zip on his trousers and asked if they could help to fix it.

A 14-year-old girl - who jumped out of the window of the house in Brier Lane to escape Forsyth's attentions - said she had never felt so scared in her life.

Defence lawyer Julia McPartlin said that at the time of the offences Forsyth was struggling with alcohol issues and had an interest in pornography.

She said:"It does not explain the behaviour but they were factors that were involved.

"The offending took place in the 1970s and ended in 1981 and he has never been in any trouble since."

Ms McPartlin said Forsyth had worked most of his adult life, latterly as an council environmental officer and while he is married, she explained that marriage was now at an end.

She continued:"It is that which will be the biggest punishment for him. As from today she has said she does not want him to return home and he has signed over his share

of the house to her."

Sheriff Peter Paterson said:"Having read the details of these charges and the victim impact statements and the devastating effect your conduct has had, there is no alternative to

a custodial sentence."

Forsyth was jailed for 15 months for the two earlier offences and another 12 months - to run consecutively - for the later two offences.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.