Lowestoft shopkeeper guilty of indecent assaults

A LOWESTOFT shopkeeper accused of indecently assaulting five schoolboys has been found guilty of offences relating to three of them.

Anthony Francis, 52, who owned a shop in Maidstone Road, Lowestoft, between 1990-1995 before moving to premises in Norwich Road, Lowestoft had denied eight offences of indecent assault and two of sexual activity with a child between 1992 and 2005.

Today, a jury at Ipswich Crown Court found him guilty of four offences of indecent assault relating to three of the boys and will return to court on Thursday morning to continue its deliberations on the remaining charges.

It has been alleged that Francis, of Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, near Norwich, lured the boys into a basement office or his private accommodation at the shop premises and sexually assaulted them.

After his arrest last year, Francis denied behaving improperly towards the boys and claimed they had colluded against him.