A former Norfolk teacher faces a hefty jail sentence after admitting dozens of sexual offences against school boys in New Zealand.

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James Parker, who used to teach at a Thetford school, has admitted 49 charges of sexual offending involving around a dozen boys aged 11 to 13. He is yet to plead to another 23 charges.

Concerns were first raised about the 37-year-old by his principal in 1996 who told New Zealand police that pupils stayed overnight at Parker’s home and shared his bed, but no information was passed on to the Thetford school or Norfolk County Council when Parker came to work here in 2002.

Police in New Zealand told the EDP they were “liaising” with UK authorities about Parker’s case, which came to light last year, through Interpol.

But Norfolk police said they had not been informed.

The teacher taught at Queensway Junior School from April 2002 until June 2003, which has since changed its name to Diamond Academy.

Former headteacher Ralph Hedley, said Mr Parker had been employed through an agency in London as the school was short of staff in 2002.

He heard last year about Parker’s court case in New Zealand and said he alerted Norfolk County Council immediately, but has not heard anything from the police or the council.

Mr Hedley told the EDP: “We had no doubts or concerns about him. There were a lot of positives about him so it was quite a surprise when I found out.”

He said the school had carried out all the usual checks at the time and no complaints were made against Parker while he was at the school.

•See today’s Eastern Daily Press for the full story.

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