A pensioner has been found guilty of groping a 14-year-old girl during a woodland game of hide and seek.

Robin Wale, aged 70, took the girl and a friend to woods at Steps Bridge in the Teign Valley during a camping holiday more than 30 years ago and put his hands up her shirt.

He put a hand inside her knickers when they met by chance at a friend’s house the next summer.

Father-of-five Wale said he could not even remember the girl and denied ever touching her but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

Wale, of Silver Way, Shobrooke, near Crediton, was convicted of three counts of indecently assaulting the girl in 1982 and 1983, when she was aged 14 and 15.

Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, adjourned the case for a probation pre sentence report and warned him that all sentencing options remain open.

During a two-day case the prosecution alleged the first assault took place during a camping trip at Steps Bridge in which Wale took two girls into the woods and suggested a game of hide and seek. He sent the other girl to hide and then lifted the complainant’s top and touched her breasts.

On another occasion the next summer he was visiting a house where the same two girls were staying. He touched one girl, now aged 15, over her T-shirt while on a walking trip and went on to put his hand inside her pants in a bedroom.

The victim said she was camping with a schoolfriend when she met Wale for the first time.

She said: ’He was laughing and joking with us. He walked along with an arm around each of us and suggested we play hide and seek.

’My friend was sent out to go and hide and when she had gone he grabbed me and pulled my away. I thought at first we were going to hide but what sticks in my mind is the way he lifted my top and his hands feeling my chest. I remembered I was very frightened.’

The woman said she did not tell her friend and went to stay with her the next summer, where she found Wale was also at the house.

She said she tried her best to avoid being left alone with him and succeeded until one day when she was in a bedroom with him and her friend.

She said her friend went to the bathroom and Wale started touching her almost immediately, putting a hand inside her underwear and asking ’is that nice?’.

She said: ’I was frozen and holding on to the sheets and praying my friend would come back. When she did he went straight back to chatting and banter.’

Wale denied any inappropriate contact and said he could not even remember meeting the girl until detectives showed him an old photograph during his interview.