A TEACHER who was employed at Furness Academy has admitted possessing indecent images of a child.

Thomas Ben Booth, 33, was said to have made a “monumental misjudgement” to initially contact a teenager who later sent him explicit photographs of herself.

Booth, who started work at Furness Academy in 2011, has been barred from working with children after pleading guilty to three criminal offences yesterday at Carlisle Crown Court.

He admitted possessing 10 images of the 16-year-old child between September 8 and November 14 last year.

Booth was given a three-month prison term for each of the offences, suspended for two years. He was made subject to a two-year community order with supervision, and will be reported to the safeguarding authorities. Booth, who lives in Bingley, Yorkshire, will automatically be banned from working with children and vulnerable adults.

Judge Peter Hughes QC told him: “The tragedy of this case is that you are unlikely to be able to work with children and work as a teacher for the foreseeable future.”

The court heard the images were found on Booth’s phone when it was seized from his home by police.

Beccy McGregor, prosecuting, said: “In interview, the defendant admitted he and the girl had discussed meeting but never made any specific arrangement.

“He had been flattered by what had happened and had gained sexual gratification from it.”

The girl told police she was “ashamed and embarrassed” to have sent the photographs.

The court heard Booth was a man of previous good character.

Greg Hoare, defending, said Booth realised he had taken a “monumentally stupid course”, and had taken steps to ensure there was no repeat.

Mr Hoare told the court: “He has not been struck off (as a teacher) but will face a hearing in the near future after this court matter has been dealt with.”

A raft of references were handed to the court in support of Booth, a married man with children, whose wife was said to be standing by him.

Judge Hughes told Booth he had been guilty of “wholly inappropriate” behaviour.

He said: “In my judgement it has to be met by means of a sentence of imprisonment – that is the least that I think the community and caring parents would expect.”

But he felt able to suspend the jail term after reading a background report on Booth.

Judge Hughes added: “This was not just a monumental misjudgement. It was an infatuation. It is plain you now appreciate the seriousness of what you did.”