A PRIZE-WINNING Burnley butcher has been cleared of groping a schoolgirl.
Stephen Berkins (48) who runs a family butchers in Rosegrove Lane, had been charged with sexual activity with a child last May.
But a jury took just 21 minutes to acquit the champion butcher after a three-day trial at Burnley Crown Court.
Speaking after the verdict, Mr Berkins, owner of Berkins’ Butchers, said he was elated that the nightmare was finally over.
He said: “It has been awful. Your life is just on hold. This is the start of the rest of my life. I am going straight back to work.
“I just want to thank my customers for all their support and never doubting me and my friends who have stuck by me through this whole ordeal.”
For full reaction to the verdict buy Tuesday’s Burnley Express.