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Former Paper Lace guitarist one of two jailed for child sex offences

Detectives have explained how the bravery of victims and their persistence helped put two predatory child sex offenders behind bars.

John Chambers, aged 73, and Andrew Polkey, aged 57, were jailed for a total of 26 years last week after officers uncovered a litany of sexual abuse against boys.

The men took it in turns to abuse one vulnerable boy over several years – plying him with drugs and alcohol after inviting him to their homes.

Chambers, a former guitarist with Nottingham-based band Paper Lace, exploited his status as a minor celebrity when he befriended the boy more than 30 years ago.

He later introduced him to former band roadie Polkey as the pair took turns to exploit him for their own sexual gratification.

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It was during the course of that investigation that two further victims were identified who had each been abused by Polkey.

A long investigation

Detectives at Nottinghamshire Police initially started to looking onto the allegations in 2017 when the victim – now an adult – came forward to report what had happened to him.

The trail then ran cold after the victim decided not to continue his complaint with a formal statement. When he reengaged with detectives two years later they were able to move the case forward.

Detective Sergeant Lee Kirk, of Nottinghamshire Police, said:

“As is often the case with non-recent allegations this victim simply did not feel ready to speak in more detail about what happened to him, so there was little we could do to move forward the matter forward.

“The victim decided to re-engage with us. His evidence was utterly compelling and forensic in detail in places, including details of Chambers home and of vehicles linked to his former band.

“In it he painted a picture of a predatory and manipulative child abuser who very deliberately groomed and exploited a secondary school age boy.

“When Polkey, a known associate of Chambers, was also identified as an abuser by the first victim our investigation really gathered pace. Polkey was then identified by another man and we prepared to make arrests.”

Both men were arrested in 2020 and interviewed about the allegations.

Both denied the offences but later pleaded guilty to multiple sexual assaults.

Chambers, formerly of Crowley Close, Bilborough,  pleaded guilty to eight assaults against one boy and Polkey, formerly of Glade Hill Road, Arnold, admitted to 17 against two boys.

Appearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday Chambers and Polkey were jailed for ten-and-a-half years and 13 years respectively.

Both men were also made the subject of Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, which will closely restrict their behaviour once thy are released from prison.

A third man, 46-year-old Matthew Mardell, of Glade hill Road, pleaded guilty to two indecent assaults on a boy and was given a 20 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Superintendent Natasha Todd, head of Public Protection at Nottinghamshire Police, said:

“These men thought they could commit these offences with impunity, but they simply hadn’t reckoned on the bravery of their victims and the determination of Nottinghamshire Police to hold them to account.

“Two of them will now spend a very considerable amount of time behind bars and I hope this brings some comfort to their victims.

“I hope this case also serves as a warning to others about just how seriously we treat offences of this nature.

“Regardless of how old allegations are, we will investigate and we will go where the evidence takes us. In this instance it led us to two calculating and predatory sex offenders who groomed and assaulted young boys over a number of years.

“Finally, I would like to pay tribute not only to the detectives in this case, but also to the victims who have shown such remarkable determination during this process. We never lose sight of how hard it is for victims to relive these experiences, but we will always do our utmost to get them the justice they deserve.

“So I urge anyone who was abused as a child to come forward and help us hold their abusers to account.”

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