CELEBRITY gardener Steve Brookes faces a jail sentence after admitting spying on showering women with a hidden camera at his Stratford home.
The 55 year-old set up a motion-activated camera concealed in an air freshener – to capture footage which could be downloaded to an app on his iPhone – which had been placed on top of a cupboard in a bathroom at his Loxley Road property.
He spied on a total of seven women – who included lodgers and others who had been invited to dinner – between November 2015 and last September, when he was arrested.
Brookes pleaded guilty to seven charges of ‘observing a person doing a private act knowing the person did not consent to being observed for your sexual gratification’ when he appeared before magistrates in Leamington on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Baldev Atwal told the court: “Mr Brookes’s iPhone had an application whereby he would be aware of the activation of that camera and could watch the recordings as they were reviewed and unfolded.
“What will clearly trouble this court is that Mr Brookes has gone to some extent and some length planning and setting up the camera.”
Michael Jervis, defending, said Brookes appreciated he was facing a custodial sentence and regarded his own behaviour as disgraceful and disgusting.
Mr Jervis added: “He is full of remorse.
“He is in many ways a ruined man. He has become a very well-known character in the local community. He has a very close-knit family and despite his behaviour his family are supporting him.”
Magistrates opted to commit Brookes for sentence at Warwick Crown Court on February 8, ruling their powers of punishment – a one-year jail term – were insufficient.
Brookes – who lives with his partner and has three grown-up children and five grandchildren – had appeared on BBC show Gardeners’ World, regularly presented The Greatest Gardening Tips in the World stage show, and travelled the world as a celebrity lecturer on cruise ships.
He became known as “Mr Rotavator” in the 1990s for his work on educational Channel 4 shows and visited schools to encourage an interest in horticulture among youngsters.
He won the Royal Television Society Award in 2000 for his series Growing Plants and was also chairman of Stratford’s In Bloom until early last year.