A FORMER teacher at a Worcestershire high school who persuaded teenage girl pupils to send him indecent pictures of themselves has been jailed.

The three girls sent Hamza Ali, the pictures using the Snapchat message service expecting them to be deleted straight after they had been viewed, Worcester Crown Court was told.

But the IT teacher used another device to keep a permanent record of nearly 200 still and moving images of the girls exposing their breasts and buttocks, the court heard.

Ali pleaded guilty to three charges of causing or inciting the girls to engage in sexual activity and three of having the indecent pictures.

Michael Conry, prosecuting, said a colleague at Pershore High School reported Ali after noticing inappropriate messages on Snapchat.

Police found a number of text messages on his phone including one from a girl about meeting him in a Birmingham hotel and Ali suggesting they meet somewhere quiet where they could kiss.

Mr Conry said there was no evidence of any physical contact having taken place but future meetings could have taken place because of the "grooming" by Ali.

The court heard he had also put pressure on the girls by telling them they were being "boring" if they didn't comply with his requests.

None of the girls had been willing to make a complaint or to give evidence, Mr Conry said, but the mother of one feared it would affect her daughter later in life.

She said she was devastated that Ali had "used his position as a teacher to take advantage of her daughter."

In a statement, she said: "School should be a place of safety and the teachers should be trusted."

Nicholas Berry, defending, said Ali, who was of previous good character, had led a "virtuous and industrious life" but had put himself under a lot of stress and had dealt with it by drinking heavily.

Ali, he said, had worked hard to reach a high level academically and had been due to get married when he got the job in Pershore.

He moved from London to Worcester but his relationship ended, Mr Berry said.

He had also started a master's degree and when he realised his pay as a teacher would not help him support his elderly parents, he had also started selling health supplements from home.

"He got into a complete mess," Mr Berry said. "There were huge issues in his life in the months preceding this out of character behaviour."

He has "completely destroyed" his career and any future academic success, Mr Berry said, and he has brought shame on his family.

Judge Nicholas Cole said it was a gross breach of trust by Ali, abusing his position as a teacher and also by assuring the girls the total of

188 category C images they sent would not be kept but then retaining them.

"You engineered a situation where they were willing to send naked photos of themselves that you requested," he said.

"They did so expecting that once you had looked at them there would be no permanent record. It will have brought them embarrassment and concern."

Ali, aged 29, of Lavender Place, Ilford, Essex, was jailed for a total of 30 months.

He was also given a sexual harm prevention order restricting his contact with children and use of the internet for 10 years and ordered to register indefinitely as a sex offender.

Speaking after the sentencing, a spokesman for Pershore High School said: "We have given the police every assistance regarding this matter.

"As soon as the issues came to light the school reacted swiftly to ensure the victims and their families were offered all appropriate support and to protect our pupils from any potential harm."

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said: "Throughout this matter, we have supported the families, school, and the police investigation.

"It has clearly been a difficult time for the families affected and the schools. We will continue offer support as required."