GYMNASTICS coach Mitchell Dolphin has been sentenced to three years in jail for a string of sexual offences against young girls.
The former performance director of the Scottish Gymnastics Association committed the offences over a 22 year period against youngsters in his care.
The fifty-one year old, regarded as one of Scotland's top coaches, was found guilty last month after a five week trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court of three charges of sexual assault and seven of lewd and libidinous behaviour against girls aged between six and 16.
The girls were all training at his Lo-Gy Centre in Loanhead between December 1986 and February 2008.
Dolphin assaulted his victims at a number of locations including at his home in Loanhead and at a caravan at Seaton Sands.
Sheriff Crowe sentenced Dolphin to a total of three years imprisonment and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.
Speaking after sentence Morag McLaughlin, Area Procurator Fiscal for Lothian and Borders, said:
"Mitchell Dolphin took advantage of his position and the trust put in him by his victims and their families to carry out sexual abuse over a period of 22 years.
"This has been a difficult case for all those involved and I am very aware that it has not been easy for his victims to report him to the police and give evidence against him.
"However, they have had the courage to do so and as a result our specialist Sexual Offences Team has been able to work with Lothian and Borders Police to ensure that he was brought to court and convicted."