A SCHOOL sports coach who admitted three counts of engaging in sexual activity with boys has been spared jail.

Philip John Masterson, 25, of St Gregory's Place, Chorley coached youngsters at hockey, football, cricket and was employed by a high school in the town as a ‘sports facilitator’ who supervised after-school sessions.

Masterson pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in non-penetrative sexual activity with two boys aged under 15.

One boy was targeted twice by Masterson in April and October 2008, both times during school organised activities where he found himself alone with the child, firstly in a store room and then in a school staff room.

Another boy was targeted in January 2009 after helping Masterson clear away equipment.

In each case the boys were touched in a sexual manner.

During a sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court, Paul Cummings, for the Crown, said that during the first attack the boy had ‘struggled, said no repeatedly and tried to get away’. As Masterson assaulted the second boy, he was ‘laughing’.

Defending, Keith Thomas, said: “My client bitterly regrets his actions which he feels have ruined his life."

Sentencing Masterson to a three-year supervision order and placing him on a sex offenders’ programme, Judge Norman Wright said he believed this would be of more benefit to the public than ’a short custodial sentence’.

Masterson was told to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and banned from coming into contact with children aged under 16.