A TEACHER has admitted he sexually assaulted pupils at a Blackburn primary school by tickling and sniffing their feet.

Martyne Airey would make the youngsters take off their socks and shoes and sit up on a table before assaulting them. The 51-year-old told the youngsters it was part of a game.

Airey pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual assault on a child under 13 at Burnley Crown Court.

Speaking after the hearing a parent of one of the pupils said she ‘disgusted’ by what had happened.

She said: “It was not normal behaviour. I was really angry and disgusted when it all came out.

“I'm just glad he has pleaded guilty and the children will not have to be put through another ordeal. Lots of us were really concerned he would go not guilty so it is a real relief.”


During the games of ‘smell and tickle’, Airey would sit children who had been naughty on a table, take off their socks and shoes and then ask them to pick a card.

He would then sniff or tickle their feet depending on which card they chose.

Airey, of Parkinson Street, Blackburn, was suspended from his position and then charged in April this year.

Abigail Hudson, prosecuting at Preston Crown Court yesterday, said: “Three of the boys came back from Mr Airey’s class and were asked why they were late, and at that point disclosed the game they had been playing.

“The parents made this public and other parents asked their children if they had played this game too.

“None of the children were particularly disturbed, they just thought it was weird. The parents were of course more perturbed.”

Airey will be sentenced by Judge Simon Newell at Preston Crown Court on August 1.

The judge said he could not guarantee that Airey would not serve a custodial sentence, but that his guilty plea would be given the usual discount, as it had helped to avoid a long trial.