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Sussex police have apologised to the young victims of a GP jailed for sexually abusing them for their lack of professionalism.
Anthony Collis, described in court as a trusted family doctor, was sacked from the Belmont Surgery, Wadhurst, in 2003. Four years later he was struck off by the General Medical Council, but he was not arrested arrested until last year.
Last week Collis was jailed for eight years for sexually assaulting five schoolgirls at his surgery. He was also given a further four months for possessing child pornography.
Sussex police first investigated Collis in 2003 but the Crown Prosecution Service decided they had not collected enough evidence to secure a conviction.
Detective Inspector Emma Heater told Heart: "We are pleased to secure this conviction for the victims and unfortunately recognise that this should have been done sooner.
"We reopened the investigation in 2008 and subsequently realised that avenues of investigation had not been pursued. That investigation was not of the professional standard that we see today and lessons have been learned.
"We apologise to the victims and their families for this."