A MARRIED teacher was found hiding in a drawer under a pupil’s bed by her mother, a court heard.

Andrew Welsh, a teacher at Canon Slade School, was discovered under the single divan bed when the mum came home early from a shopping trip.

The “highly regarded” father-of-one was yesterday given a 14-month suspended jail sentence after Bolton Crown Court heard that he had lost his career and good character following his two-month affair with the girl.

The court heard his doctor wife is standing by him and that he now works as a double glazing salesman.

Geoff Whelan, prosecuting, told how the teacher and the 16-year-old girl would meet at each other’s homes where they would kiss and cuddle. On two occasions, they had sex.

Welsh sent the girl numerous text messages telling her he loved her and mentioning the sexual contact between them.

Mr Whelan told how Welsh, who was not the girl’s form tutor, was providing “unofficial pastoral care” to her and that they would meet in his classroom.

She had sought his advice because she believed she suffered from depression — but the relationship changed during one meeting.

Mr Whelan said: “He told her he was having a bad day and asked her for a hug.”

Within days Welsh suggested they spend a free afternoon together and they went back to his home where they kissed on the sofa in his young son’s playroom.

The teacher, who was the assistant head of Year 10, met the girl at his house on three occasions and her home three further times.

Another time they engaged in sexual touching in his car parked in a Sainsbury’s car park.

But the court heard that one day the girl’s mother arrived home unexpectedly at 11.30am and was met by her daughter at the bottom of the stairs.

When the mother noticed that the girl’s hair was messed up, and lipstick she had applied two hours earlier was gone, her daughter explained she had been lying down because she had a headache.

After putting shopping away in the kitchen the mother went upstairs and pushed open the girl’s bedroom door to see her holding a man’s jacket. A pair of men’s boots were also on the floor.

The mother said: “What are you doing? Who’s here?”

But as her daughter replied “Andy” the mother noticed movement coming from the compartment under her daughter’s single divan bed.

Mr Whelan told the court: “The mother ordered the defendant to get out from under the bed and she recognised him immediately.”

The mother contacted the school and police and he was arrested.

He told officers that he thought the relationship was not illegal because he believed she was no longer a pupil at the school.

Nicola Gatto, defending, said Welsh had been teaching for seven years and was a well-regarded member of staff.

She said: “This was a man who clearly had a very bright future ahead of him.

“Quite what possessed him to embark on this course of conduct is really unclear.”

She added that it is not suggested the girl led Welsh on.

She said: “She makes no bones about the fact that she found Andrew Welsh attractive and, unfortunately, he succumbed to temptation and has paid a high price for that.

“It seems that he became utterly carried away with himself and didn’t apply any real thought to what was going to happen to those around him.”

Judge Elliot Knopf sentenced Welsh, of High Bank, Atherton, to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered him to do 200 hours unpaid work.

He said the relationship could have gone on longer if Welsh had not been caught.

He added: “You should have exercised the judgement you clearly lacked when you decided to embark on this relationship.”

Welsh, whose 36th birthday was today, pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust at an earlier hearing.

He was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and ordered to pay £500 prosecution costs.