A well-known county league cricketer has been jailed for seven and a half years after admitting sexual activity with a child.

Robert Francis, 42, appeared at Worcester Crown Court to be sentenced after he pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual activity with a child.

The offences took place between November 1 2018 and April 3 2019 and related to one victim - a teenage girl.

Francis was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. A sexual harm prevention order was imposed and he was barred from working with children. He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

Francis admitted to the charges at an earlier court hearing on July 29.

He also denied a series of other charges: three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, two of meeting a child following sexual grooming, one of rape and one of making indecent photographs of children.

The judge ordered that these counts should lie on the file.

Francis was arrested on April 10 this year and charged on April 11 with possessing an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child, causing a girl over the age of 13 to engage in non-penetrative sexual activity, inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and meeting a girl under the age of 16 following a period of grooming.

Francis was well known as a local cricketer in the area, having played for Malvern Cricket Club as an all-rounder as recently as September 2018.

In his last recorded match for Malvern he scored a hundred as the side beat Alvechurch and Hopwood.

A spokesman from the ECB said: “ECB takes safeguarding extremely seriously and as soon as we were made aware of the Police investigation into this individual, he was immediately suspended from all cricketing activities overseen by ECB. We remain in close communication with the Club and Police regarding this matter.”

Francis, of Brook Farm Drive, Malvern, was jailed on September 13.