A CHILDREN’S book is set to be withdrawn from shelves after it emerged that the author is a convicted paedophile.
Edinburgh Unlocked is a guide to the city for children and was researched with help from youngsters at a primary school and a cub scout pack.
But the publishers of the £9 book, which is available at outlets including Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith, are preparing to pull it from shops after the writer was convicted of possessing child porn.
Colin Chisholm, a special needs teacher at an RC primary in the city, admitted downloading pornographic videos featuring children as young as six.
The 28-year-old also admitted he was “sexually attracted” to children.
Chisholm’s book, part of a series of children’s city guides, was published last year and includes suggestions for fun activities, such as flying a kite at Calton Hill, driving a Formula 1 car at The National Museum of Scotland, and climbing a volcano at Arthur’s Seat.
In the credits, Chisholm pays tribute to the children who acted as his “eager market-research guinea pigs”.
He thanks youngsters from the 75th Blackford Cub Scout pack and children at his own school, St Cuthbert’s, where he taught autistic pupils in P1-P3.
The book has received good reviews on Amazon, currently scoring 4.5 out of 5 stars.
One reviewer said: “This is a great resource…The authors have most certainly identified a gap in the market.”
But a child protection charity said it showed how Chisholm had abused his position of trust and owners of the book would now be “dismayed to have it on their shelves”.
Matt Forde, head of NSPCC Scotland, said: “Parents or family members who have bought this book will be extremely dismayed to hear of the author’s background.
“Tragically, all too often the perpetrators of child sex offences are people who are in a position of trust.
“It is vital that the authorities and future employers of those convicted of child sex offences ensure that their activities pose no risk to children in the future.
Chisholm was arrested when three porn videos involving children were found in his possession last spring.
The offences took place between April 21 and 29, less than a year after Chisholm began teaching at St. Cuthbert’s.
One of the videos was 50 seconds long, while another was just over five minutes long, Edinburgh Sheriff court heard last week.
The children featured in the material were thought to be between the ages of six and 12.
Fiscal depute Dev Kapadia told the court: “Chisholm admitted straightaway that he had downloaded indecent images of children.
“He indicated that he was sexually attracted to children, but absolutely denied any involvement in physical matters,” he added.
The book, published by Factfinders in 2010 was researched and co-written by Chisholm two years ago.
Emily Kerr, a director of the firm, said: “We hired Colin, then a teacher, to research our Edinburgh guide in 2009.
“Colin is no longer involved with our company. Given his conviction, we are reviewing the situation with respect to selling our Edinburgh guide.”
A source close to the publishers claimed Chisholm was a researcher rather than an author and had little contact with children while researching the book.
However, the book is clearly labelled as being “by” Chisholm on an inside page of the version available on Amazon.
Edinburgh Council declined to comment and no-one was available for comment from The Scout Association.
Chisholm is due to be sentenced at Edinburgh Sherriff Court next month.