Town's mayor caught on camera stealing women's underwear
A town mayor, Ian Stafford, has admitted stealing women’s underwear after he was caught on camera by one of his victims.
Stafford, 59, was seen walking into the woman’s bedroom, rifling through her drawers, and selecting a pair of knickers he wanted to wear.
The bachelor, who had twice been elected mayor of Preesall and Knott End, near Fleetwood, Lancashire, then performed a sex act before leaving the building.
Police later found a collection of underwear, identical to the items reported stolen, at his home.
The woman who made the recording was one of three targeted between January 1 and June 26 last year.
She decided to install a hidden camera after noticing that some of her underwear was disappearing.
Two other victims also contacted police over the disappearance of items of their own underwear.
At Preston Crown Court the disgraced mayor, who carried out the offences while working as a part-time gardener and handyman, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary.
The case was adjourned for reports until February 5.
Stafford has no previous convictions, but Judge Philip Sycamore warned him not to “draw any conclusions” about the severity of his sentence.
“All sentencing options are open,” he said.
At an earlier hearing Pam Smith, prosecuting, told local magistrates that the offences involved “a breach of trust where the victims have been betrayed and traumatised”.
She added: “At least one of the victims is elderly. The defendant has built up a business in the community and being elected mayor facilitated him an additional level of trust.”
His behaviour, as depicted in the recording, had been “just about as distressing and traumatic for the victims as is possible”.
Stafford resigned his position as mayor in the aftermath of his arrest. Another town councillor has since taken over the chain of office.