A 20-YEAR-OLD child advice worker indecently assaulted a 13-year-old girl after "grooming" her for months after she called a Lancashire County Council children's help-line.

Martin Steve Tibbet, who was employed by the authority at an advice centre for children and young people, arranged to meet the child after she called youth and community service project The Line to speak to someone while her mother was in hospital.

Blackburn magistrates heard the girl was anxious and vulnerable and became a victim after Tibbett arranged to meet her on a number of occasions, where he subsequently committed three indecent assaults.

Today leader of Lancashire County Council Hazel Harding made a personal pledged the authority would conduct an immediate and full inquiry into the case. She said: "Obviously the County Council would not have this happen to any young person -- especially when they have put their trust in a Council run service.

"We carry out extensive checks on people who have contact with young people in an attempt to ensure that this kind of thing does not happen.

"While we can check on people's history that doesn't always show up people who may offend," she added.

Tibbett, 20, of Dove Lane, Darwen, pleaded guilty to three offences of indecent assault committed prior to February 19.

The magistrates ruled that their powers of punishment, up to 12 months in prison, where insufficient and Tibbett was committed on bail to Preston Crown Court for sentence.

Eddie Harrison, prosecuting, said the victim was a 13-year-old schoolgirl and Tibbett had been in a position of considerable trust at the time of the offences.

"A part of his job was to man a telephone help-line project called The Line," said Mr Harrison.

"This was designed to cover a whole spectrum of issues involving young people."

The Line is part of the County Council's Youth and Community Service What Now? internet info-zone, which provides information for young people on a wide range of subjects.

Mr Harrison said Tibbett worked on the project from 2002 and during that time the girl made contact, anxious to speak to someone.

"She was a vulnerable individual because her mother was in hospital," said Mr Harrison.

"Over a period of time Tibbett groomed her and he went on to indecently assault her on a number of occasions when they met up."

Richard Prew, defending, said it was accepted that the case would have to go to Crown Court for sentencing.

"To his credit, my client has fully accepted the acts of indecency and did so right from the outset," said Mr Prew.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: "We can confirm that Martin Tibbett was employed by Lancashire County Council, but he was dismissed on February 20 of this year.

"We are unable to comment further until the full legal process has been completed.

"However, we are treating the charges against the former employee very seriously.

"All young people who come into contact with any public authority deserve the best possible protection and respect."