Sex pest Christopher Hardie hid camera to spy on women at Stoke-on-Trent City Council depot
SEX pest Christopher Hardie spied on colleagues at the council depot where he worked – by installing a camera to peer up women's skirts.
Hardie set up the camera and recording equipment at Stoke-on-Trent City Council's Cromer Road depot, in Northwood, for five months.
And his voyeurism only came to an end when a female colleague found the hidden camera.
Hardie was arrested by police and sacked for gross misconduct by the council earlier this year.
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Now Hardie is starting a 16-month prison sentence after admitting eight counts of voyeurism, which also included installing cameras at a house between 2008 and 2012.
The 51-year-old must also sign the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.
It has also emerged that former driving instructor Hardie narrowly avoided jail in 2004 after downloading child porn.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Hardie's actions had impacted on council staff.
In a statement, one victim said: "This will be be with me for life. Words can't explain the embarrassment and the mental anguish. I now only feel safe in my own home."
Around 400 council staff work at the Cromer Road site, which includes environmental services, street cleansing, waste and recycling and vehicle fleet services.
The court heard Hardie threw the camera in a canal after being uncovered by colleagues. Other equipment was found in skips at the site.
Memory cards, USB sticks and three camcorders were also found at his home.
The court heard Hardie, who was last living in Lichfield Road, Stafford, had been kicked out of his family home.
Hamish Noble, defending, said: "In this case the images were for personal use and not shown or distributed for financial gain.
"There have been attempts to take his own life with an overdose and inhaling car exhaust fumes. Everything he had before has come to an end."
Jailing Hardie, Judge Granville Styler said: "I understand the devastating effect this has had on you. You have lost your job and family.
"But these are serious matters which give the public and victims great discomfort.
"It was a series of offences which took considerable planning. I take the view this is an escalation of your offending.
"You have an obsession that gives you sexual gratification."
Stoke-on-Trent City Council declined to comment on the case.