A MUSIC teacher who admitted sexually assaulting young schoolgirls while in the classroom has escaped a custodial sentence.

Simon Reeves touched four youngsters on the legs and thighs as he gave them trumpet lessons at a primary school in East Lothian.

Reeves, 46, also stroked the girls’ hair and backs during the music tuition and encouraged them to sit on his knee.

The girls all believed Reeves behaviour was “normal at the time” and that he was “just being friendly” when he began caressing them.

But the teacher was reported to police after one victim found out Reeves had been prosecuted last year for a similar offence and was on the sex offenders’ register.

All four victims were just nine and ten-years-old when Reeves targeted them in the classroom.

Reeves pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual assault at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and he returned to the dock for sentencing last Tuesday.

Sheriff Nigel Morrison said the brass teacher had carried out “a gross breach of trust” but noted social work reports which assessed him as “a low risk” of reoffending.

Sheriff Morrison spared Reeves, of Pitt Street, Leith, a jail term and instead ordered him to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Reeves was also placed on a supervision order and the sex offenders’ register for the next two years.

He will also have to adhere to a conduct requirement banning him from being alone with children under the age of 18.

Reeves was also handed a community disposal and placed on the sex offenders’ register last year after he pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with a schoolgirl at another primary school in East Lothian.

Previously the court heard the father-of-two was employed by East Lothian Council and taught children how to play brass instruments at several primary schools and a high school in East Lothian.

Fiscal Alan Morrison said all the incidents involving Reeves touching the schoolgirls took place in the school’s music room when the primary 5 class was in session.

The four girls said they were all touched intimately by Reeves and added they had all witnessed each other being fondled by the teacher.

Reeves would lean over the girls as he gave them music lessons and fondled their thighs as he did so.

He also rubbed the children’s backs and played with the girls’ hair during the classes during the incidents between August 1, 2015 and June 25, 2017. The fiscal added that one girl then found out about Reeves’ conviction from last year and told the other girls involved to Google the news reports.

After finding out about his sordid past the girls believed his conduct towards them was similar to his offending and decided to tell their parents and they in turn informed the police.

The girls told police officers Reeves hugs “would often last longer than expected” and that he “rubbed their legs back and forth” and would get them to sit on his knee during the trumpet tutorials.

His lawyer Alistair Milne said Reeves pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and now “accepted full responsibility and does seek to minimise” his offending. He said his client was receiving specialist treatment and that there was “no suggestion of any ongoing course of conduct”.

Reeves pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four schoolgirls by repeatedly touching their body, rubbing their thighs, touching their hair and inducing them to sit on his knee at a primary school in East Lothian between August 1, 2015 and June 25, 2017.

He is no longer employed by East Lothian Council.