A TEACHER at a Blackburn mosque has admitted using beatings and torture positions as a form of discipline on four pupils.

Irfan Patel, 33, pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty to a person under the age of 16 at Preston Crown Court yesterday.

Using an Urdu translator to enter his plea, the teacher of several years, showed no emotion.

The court heard Patel used physical violence to discipline the boys aged between 10 and 16 between January 1, 2011 and October 19, 2011.

He used to strike the children around the back of the head and on the back with his fists during religious lessons at the mosque.

The court also heard Patel, of Pelham Street, Blackburn, wore a ring which he used to inflict more pain.

The assistant teacher also admitted forcing the children to adopt 'awkward' positions, including the chicken position, a well known torture tactic used in war zones.

Other positions included forcing the boys to crouch down while holding their ears and standing for long periods of time touching their toes.

Prosecutor Peter Horgan said: "This has been a particularly difficult case to present before the court.

"It has been difficult to obtain witnesses and gaining parental consent."

Patel was given on bail until sentencing on September 7, on the condition he has no contact with children under 16, except his own, and he does not take part in any religious teaching .

Judge Heather Lloyd said: "The fact I am granting you bail until September 7 should not be taken as an indication of the outcome or sentence of this case.

"The sentencing judge will have all means of sentence available including custody."

Speaking after the hearing Sgt John Rigby, from Lancashire Police's community cohesion unit, said: “All allegations of abuse involving young people are vigorously investigated by the police in co-operation with children services.

“Irfan Patel fell below the high standards expected with a voluntary teacher in charge of young people. His guilty plea has avoided four young people all under the age of eleven having to go through evidence at court.

“We will always prosecute these types of cases.”