AN East Kilbride pensioner has been jailed for five years for abusing boys as young as seven.

William Cross, 67, has also been placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

Cross held a position of trust in a number of youth organisations, including football teams and the Boys’ Brigade, and abused nine boys at various locations in East Kilbride between 1980 and 1995.

His victims were aged between seven and 15 and he initially met them when they attended the numerous clubs and youth organisations he was involved in.

Despite originally denying the offences, he changed his plea to guilty on May 16 after two days of evidence was heard in his trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Speaking after the sentencing, Fraser Gibson, Procurator Fiscal for South Strathclyde said: “William Cross’s victims were robbed of their innocence by a man in a position of trust.

“Justice can be achieved even after many years and we would encourage all victims of such crimes, wherever and whenever they were committed, to come forward and report them.

“They can be confident that they will be treated with the utmost professionalism by everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution.”