A PERVERT was caught filming a 15-year-old girl as she got changed after a swimming session at Darwen Leisure Centre.

Blackburn magistrates heard when police inspected the phone William David Smith was using they discovered under the cubicle footage of another 21 women and girls. And the court was told his bright blue phone had been wrapped in black tape to make it less noticeable as he carried out his covert activities.

Smith, 30, of Redearth Road, Darwen, pleaded guilty to two charges of voyeurism.

He was committed in custody to Preston Crown Court to be sentenced on June 21.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said the incident occurred on Friday and the majority of the victims had not yet been identified.

She said Smith had a previous conviction for voyeurism in 2016 which had resulted in him being put on the Sex Offenders’ Register and made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

She said on Friday a 15-year-old girl had been to the Darwen Leisure Centre for a swimming session and was using the mixed changing facilities afterwards when she noticed a hand come under the dividing panel with a phone in it.

The girl waited until she heard the next cubicle door and then looked out to see the defendant walking away.

When her mum picked her up she told her what had happened and the police were called.

“He was arrested and when police examined his phone it became apparent he had been able to successfully film women and young girls undressing and much of the footage was very intimate,” said Miss Allan.

“It also became clear there had been a high degree of planning before the commission of these offences. He had joined the leisure centre under an assumed name and he had covered his brightly coloured phone in black tape to make it less conspicuous.”

Deborah Morgan, defending, said the first thing Smith had said to her in the cells was that he needed help.

“He is extremely remorseful and apologetic,” said Miss Morgan.

“He has not had any help with his problems, despite serving a custodial sentence, and he is desperate for any assistance that can be offered.”

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Speaking after the hearing, Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s director of public health and wellbeing, said: “The Council takes its safeguarding responsibilities very seriously and implements all necessary precautions to protect members of the public from any potential security risks. Staff are trained to respond professionally and promptly, in liaison with the police, as soon as we are alerted to any incidents where a person’s privacy has been violated.

“Furthermore systems are in place to detect and deter incidents of this nature. The use of photographic or video equipment, which includes the use of mobile phones for photo and video purposes, is not permitted within our leisure facilities unless a permit has been provided. Photography is not permitted in the changing facilities at any time. We reserve the right to approach any persons found to be in breach of this policy and appropriate action will be taken.

“As the recent event is subject to court proceedings that are not concluded, we are unable to comment further on this individual case.”