Jury clears Borders youth club leader of sexual offence charges

The 54-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
The 54-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

A Peebles man accused of committing sexual offences against 12 young girls has been cleared of all allegations against him.

Peregrine Burgess, 54, was accused of targeting the girls and four women between 2006 and 2017.

However, following a three-week trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, he was cleared of all charges last Friday, July 5.

Burgess, who ran the Pie and Chips youth club at Leckie Memorial Church in Peebles and acted as a supervisor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, had pled not guilty to 18 charges, alleged to have taken place over the 11-year period.

The offences were said to have been committed during trips to beaches in East Lothian by youth club members and on hikes in the Borders for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.

A jury of 11 men and four women found him not guilty, by a majority, of 17 of the charges, and not proven of one.

During the course of the proceedings he was acquitted of ten other charges.

Mr Burgess, formerly a dietician for NHS Borders, is no longer employed by the board.

NHS Borders chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “We are aware of the decision reached by the jury in court last week. We recognise how difficult this case will have been for those involved.

“During the course of this investigation which dates back to June 2017 we have cooperated fully with Police Scotland and took immediate action as a result of the information we had available at the time.

“We will continue to provide support as required to those who have been affected.”