James Anderson won an award for his work within the community before being unveiled as a sex predator. He was a town councillor and respected High Street shopkeeper.
Yesterday Anderson was jailed for 32 months after admitting six sexual offences involving three teenage girls. Read more here James Anderson jailed for 32 months and How police built case against Uckfield sex predator James Anderson.
Anderson, a former Uckfield town councillor and shopkeeper was a member of the Trust Independent group on the council. It had urged people to “Help us bring ‘trust’ to the people of our community. The address of Mr Anderson’s shop was given as a contact point.
On the Trust website Anderson said he set up home in Uckfield with his wife Jess in 2010.
He continued saying he opened his shop in June 2014 and added: “I feel that I have already begun making a strong contribution to the town by getting involved with the community in as many ways that I can.
Passion and care
“I believe that our town council should faithfully represent the people of Uckfield with both passion and care.”
Anderson was elected to Uckfield Town Council in 2015 after polling 1,030 votes in North Ward.
There are six seats in Uckfield North and James Anderson finished third in the poll, representing Trust Independent.
He was one of a group of people who banded together under the Trust Independent banner and they took a majority of seats on the council at the election; although they do not operate formally as a group.
Seats on the council are contested every four years and this election was held on May 7, 2015.
At the annual statutory town council meeting on May 18, 2015, Mr Anderson was nominated as deputy town mayor. However, he was not elected to the post after a signed (private) ballot of councillors.
Later in the meeting, Mr Anderson was elected as a member of the general purposes committee and the plans committee. He went on that meeting to be elected as chairman of the plans committee.
In May 2017, at the town council’s annual meeting, Mr Anderson was re-elected by councillors to be a member of the plans committee for the following year. However, he was not re-appointed chairman.
On July 19, 2017, Uckfield Town Council held an extraordinary meeting of the full council at which Cllr Anderson (plus four others) tendered apologies for absence.
The meeting began at 6.30pm and after the formalities of declarations of interest (there was one from Cllr Paul Sparks), statements from the public (none) and apologies, the members present considered a resolution to exclude the Press and the public, under the Public Bodies Admission to Meetings Act (1960).
The motion was passed and the council went into private session.
Official minutes of the meeting show that the councillors present then unanimously resolved to “accept the reasons for non-attendance of Councillor Anderson and a period of extension be granted for up to three months.
“The meeting finished at 6.38pm.”
No further information was provided by the town council.
By the time of the annual meeting of the town council the following year, on May 8, 2018, Mr Anderson was no longer a councillor having resigned on April 13.
The casual vacancy was advertised the following week.
Voters in Uckfield North Ward went to the polls on July 12 last year to elect a replacement town councillor.
James Anderson had become a prominent shopkeeper in the town after purchasing the All Sorts shop – which has since been sold – in the High Street in 2014.
He became known for “stepping in” to try and ease congestion when incidents hampered the flow of High Street traffic.
Mr Anderson became a significant figure in the organisation of the town’s late-night shopping event.
Note: This article has been amended to reflect the fact that Mr Anderson was no longer a town councillor at the time of the town council’s annual meeting in May, which the original article erroneously indicated that he was,