Former football club volunteer Paul Tupper has been jailed for five years after being found guilty of sexually abusing a string of young boys.

Croydon Crown Court heard that Tupper, 59, of Wallington, had at times abused his position with Croydon football club to carry out 16 sexual assaults.

Prosecuting, Mr. Christopher Stimpson, said the offences went back to 1977, when a boy, now aged 38, went to Tupper’s caravan where he was assaulted.

The court also heard that on another occasion, when the boy was 11 or 12, Tupper said could help him work on a CB radio and touched him again.

The court heard Tupper told the boy had he contacts with Crystal Palace football club. “In the changing room Tupper exposed himself to the same boy - who realised that the door had been locked.

“Within two months of getting to know another soccer enthusiast, Tupper was kissing him and giving him a lift to training sessions.

“He later got the boy to clean his van and indecently assaulted him while he was doing so.

Mr Stimpson added: “As a result of police inquiries, two other boys came forward.

“One boy, aged eight, was threatened to keep quiet or Tupper would cut his penis off.

“He took the other boy to various caravan sites.”

During sentencing the public gallery was packed with relatives and a few of his victims and there were tears as the facts were outlined.

At one point the father of one of six boys sexually abused by Tupper stormed out of the court in anger.

Tupper will now be placed on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life alongside his jail term.

Judge Nicholas Ainley told him: “I am firmly of the view that you are a man who constitutes a significant risk to the public.

“These offences have had a devastating effect on their young lives.’’ Tupper has a previous conviction for child assault in 1992, when he was given 12 months.

The conviction related to four offences committed when he was linked with a football club.

Defending, Miss Pauline Thompson said Tupper was genuinely remorseful and had remarked to her: “I have done wrong; I know I have to pay for it.”