ARSONISTS, thieves, violent offenders, sex offenders and even a drug dealer are among those who have applied for teaching jobs in East Lancashire.

Hundreds of criminals have tried to get jobs in the region's classrooms in the last three years.

Between 2015 and 2017, more than 10,000 people applied for teaching posts across the region which require checks on criminal convictions carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The figures showed the applicants – which included paedophiles and drug-drivers - had more than 470 offences between them.

Among the more serious offences uncovered were four separate arson attacks, two assaults on police officers, 15 burglaries, two indecent assaults on boys under 14 and two indecent assaults on women aged 16 or over, as well as one conviction for supplying drugs.

One person was found to have a conviction for soliciting to use a prostitute.

The most common offence was drink-driving, with 52 convictions uncovered by the checks.

27 assaults were identified, as well as 20 convictions for battery, 14 shoplifting offences and 21 convictions for uninsured drivers.

It is not known how many of the applicants with a previous criminal conviction actually managed to secure a job in a school because in the end it is employers who decide to give them a job.

Working with children requires an enhanced Disclosing Barring Service (DBS) check. It is against the law to appoint anyone on a list of people barred from working with children.

A Disclosure and Barring Service spokesman said: "The DBS helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.

"The protection of children and vulnerable groups is of paramount importance and DBS checks are an important tool for informing employment decisions.

"Nonetheless, it is important that employers do not just rely on checks by the DBS to make their recruitment decisions."

A process of filtering some older and minor convictions and cautions from inclusion on DBS certificates was introduced in May 2013 so some offences will no longer appear on a certificate.

Not only is it an offence to knowingly employ a person barred by the DBS, it is also an offence for a barred person to work or even apply to work with the vulnerable group from which they have been barred.