A former fireman allegedly abused two boys by spanking them - with a prosecutor accusing him in court of having a 'buttocks fetish'.

Christopher Richards, 57 - now resident in Birmingham - stands charged on four counts of indecent assault.

He denies the charges.

Opening the case at Reading Crown Court yesterday (July 3), prosecuting barrister Patricia May told jurors that two men have accused Richards of abusing them as children.

She stated that the complainants' accounts were vastly similar.

Mrs May said: "Having inveigled the young victim to come up with naughty things he might have done, the defendant would then tell him off.

"And then he would lay him across his knee, and he would remove his trousers and pants, and he would [...] spank him on his bare buttocks."

At the time, Richards was a fireman employed by the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

All of the alleged offences took place in Reading, where he was based at the time.

Richards acknowledges that the spanking took place. However, he denies that it was sexual in intent, instead claiming he merely intended to discipline the children.

The prosecution paint a very different picture of Richards' motives. Mrs May said: "It can be inferred that the defendant has, perhaps, a buttocks fetish towards young boys. He indulged himself."

The jury will have to decide whether the act was of a sexual nature.

The allegations date back decades, and the victims were small children at the time. However, one of the men believes he was spanked on at least two or three separate occasions.

The trial continues.