SCOTTISH Borders Council is facing legal action over an ex-teacher’s sexual abuse of teenage boys, it has emerged.

Gordon Barkham, 78, of Eildon Crescent, Melrose, was remanded in custody at the High Court in Edinburgh earlier this month after admitting to repeatedly offering a teenager money for sexual acts between February and May 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two other boys at cricket clubs, with one of them also subjected to sexual abuse by him at a secondary school.

Now Thompsons solicitors, which represents one of the victims, has launched a civil case against the local authority, seeking compensation for its failure to protect their client.

That victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “This man has treated the school and the wider community as a hunting ground for children. If the authorities had acted it could have stopped Barkham in his tracks. I have waited many years for his criminal conviction but I wish I had been believed all those years ago. I’ve still heard nothing from Scottish Borders Council – not even an apology for what I’ve been through.”

Laura Connor, a partner at Thompsons, said: “Gordon Barkham was seen as a pillar of the community in the Borders but was a serial child abuser. He preyed on children in his care in the most despicable way. SBC have some very serious questions to answer about how this man could have committed these crimes for so long.”

David Robertson, Scottish Borders Council’s acting chief executive, said: “SBC is extremely sorry about any situation where a child has experienced any abuse or has been harmed in any way whilst in our care.”

He said the authority was aware of the legal action and was co-operating fully with the ongoing process.