Three cricketers suspended

Three men have been suspended from Norfolk cricket clubs under child protection rules. Among them is Paul Reeve, the former PE teacher at Norwich's Hewett School who was at the centre of a national controversy last year over the government allowing sex offenders to continue working in schools.

Three men have been suspended from Norfolk cricket clubs under child protection rules, it emerged last night.

Among them is Paul Reeve, the former PE teacher at Norwich's Hewett School who was at the centre of a national controversy last year over the government allowing sex offenders to continue working in schools.

The England Cricket Board (ECB) ruling means none of the men can take part in any cricketing activity including playing, coaching, scoring, umpiring or ground maintenance.

Mr Reeve is suspended with immediate effect from Aldborough cricket club until November 2008, when he will have the right to seek reinstatement. It is understood he has already lodged an appeal.

Neil Twyman, captain of the third eleven at Topcroft cricket club, and Adam Newcombe, of Hemsby cricket club, have also been suspended until further notice - although the precise reasons for their suspension were unclear last night . They also have a right to appeal.

Sources close to the Norfolk Cricket Alliance said that it had felt obliged to name the three men, at this stage, for avoidance of doubt.

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The sources added that the ECB had not given detailed reasons for the suspension of the three men.

Godfrey Batley, Norfolk cricket development manager, said: “All three individuals have been dealt with in accordance with ECB rules.

“We have decided to adopt a cautious approach with these matters and taken the view that the good of the majority takes precedence over the good of the individual.”

A statement from the Norfolk Cricket Alliance adds that Mr Batley and Robin Konieczny, the alliance's welfare officer, have been in close liaison with the ECB over these suspensions to seek advice on what action to take.

The three men have been suspended under the ECB's “child protection complaints and disciplinary procedure”.

ECB guidelines state that suspensions can be issued in cases where “there is sufficient concern or comment in the investigators report to suggest that the individual poses a potential or actual risk if he was to work or come in contact with children or young people in cricket.”

No evidence or details of the allegations against the men have been made public.

According to the alliance's statement: “Should any of the above [the three suspended men] take part in any cricket activity including playing, coaching, scoring, umpiring or ground maintenance, the Norfolk county welfare officer should be notified immediately.”

Mr Reeve hit the headlines in January last year as education secretary Ruth Kelly became embroiled in a ministerial row over sex offenders working in school.

He was able to begin work at the Hewett School even though the school was aware that he had received a caution and had been put on the sex offenders' register for child pornography offences. His employment there stopped after a few days when the police became aware of his appointment and raised an objection.