A nursery chain at the centre of a child sex abuse storm was rocked again today after police revealed they had found CANNABIS plants at one branch.
Six men have been arrested after a child made an allegation of sexual assault at Bright Eyes Montessori Nurseries, which has branches in Redditch, Bromsgrove and Droitwich Spa, Worcs.
At a special meeting with panicked parents and staff, it was revealed that police found cannabis being grown at one of the branches during their investigations.
Six plants were found at the Droitwich branch, though police said they were in an area inaccessible to children.
Specialist officers told the packed meetings there had also been a ‘clear lack of control’ over access to the nurseries.
Superintendent for South Worcestershire, Mark Travis, said: ““It’s six plants, which is a small amount.
“I am not making light, they are there but in terms of quantity that is a small amount and would be considered as being for personal use.”
West Mercia Police, which held a series of special meetings on Friday to inform parents about their investigations, said it had found other areas of concern at the nurseries.
Detective Superintendent Amanda Blakeman, who leads West Mercia’s Protecting Vulnerable People department said: “We have given those who attended some new information, not just about our investigation into the sexual assault, but also findings we feel they would want to know about the way the nurseries were being managed.
“During our searches, we found six small cannabis plants in a small private dwelling in the grounds of the Droitwich branch, which will be dealt with by a separate investigation.
“We have concerns about the way data was being controlled, managed and stored, in particular incomplete parent and guardian contact details that made it challenging for us to get in touch with all of those affected.
“This is why we have had to open a contact bureau for parents to call and use the media and social media to distribute our messages.
“We have contacted the Information Commissioners Office who is investigating this matter.
“We also found there has been a clear lack of control within the nursery setting, specifically at Droitwich, of unauthorised people having access to the childcare environment.”
All three branches of the nursery – which has had its license suspended by Ofsted while investigations take place – were closed voluntarily on Thursday.
Police would not reveal which branch of the nursery the alleged assault took place at but said they were only seeking one perpetrator.
Five men were arrested on Thursday and a sixth was arrested on Friday.
All six have been released on police bail.