THE former manager of Wimborne Town who used hidden cameras in fake smoke detectors to film women undressing and showering has been jailed.

Alexander James Browne, 46, made secret videos of women at HMP YOI Portland, where he worked as a guard and fitness instructor, as well as at other locations around Dorset.

One offence occurred at a Dorset school.

One victim told Bournemouth Crown Court that she struggles to sleep, has started smoking and “questions everyone around her” since she found out she was being spied on.

A judge branded Browne’s actions as “a disgraceful breach of trust.”

The court heard that Browne could access his secret films using a mobile phone app linked to the cameras.

Browne admitted eight counts of voyeurism and a charge of arson on what would have been the first day of his trial at Bournemouth Crown Court last month.

At his sentencing today, prosecutor Sadie Rizzo told the court a victim first found a camera inside rolled up tissues in the female changing room at the prison in November last year.

The woman made the shock discovery while she was trying to turn the heating down.

A prison locksmith was called in but was approached by Browne who said he needed access inside, the court heard.

Miss Rizzo said: “It would appear…that Mr Browne was concerned he’d been found out so he decided to take action to cover his tracks.

“At 5pm he left the prison for 10-15 minutes and went to a local shop to buy some Polos and a box of matches.

“At 7.15pm the fire alarm was activated, and the female changing room building was alight.”

During an inspection of the building the next day, investigators found a further camera hidden in a fake smoke detector cover.

DNA left on the cameras was traced to Browne, Miss Rizzo said.

During a “lengthy” investigation, police seized Browne’s phone, Macbook, iPad and USB stick, and found further cameras at locations in Weymouth, Dorchester and Poole.

Two of these cameras had also been hidden inside fake smoke detector covers, and had captured images of women showering, undressing and using the toilet.

Browne, of Chickerell, played for Weymouth Football Club for 10 years making more than 600 appearances for the club before moving to Dorchester Town in 2003. He went on to make more than 200 appearances for the Magpies.

In 2008 he was announced as the new player manager for Wimborne Town. He was also a coach for Dorset County Football Association.

Mitigating for Browne, Francesca Whebell said the ex-footballer was suffering from poor mental health at the time of the offences and had set fire to the prison changing rooms “because he wanted to be caught.”

However Judge Robert Pawson shunned the statement, saying it “would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.”

Speaking directly to Browne, Judge Pawson said: “You installed equipment to capture video images of people at your place of work, which is a disgraceful breach of trust.

“When the net started to close in around you…you set fire to the portable cabin at HMP Portland.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that you did this for your own sexual gratification…you thought you would get away with it. You have had a significant impact on the lives of your victims.

“It doesn’t seem to me that your remorse is directed at your victims, more for the impact its had on your own life.”

Browne was jailed for a total of 18 months and ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation. He will be signed onto the sex offenders' register and was handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

Browne was also given a restraining order against all his victims.

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Declan Cummings, of Weymouth CID, said: “Alexander Browne violated the privacy of women using these changing facilities for his own gratification.

“These actions have understandably caused a great deal of distress to his victims and I would like to thank all those who have shown the courage to come forward and support this investigation.

“We will always take reports of this nature very seriously and would urge anyone with information relating to similar offences to contact Dorset Policeat, via email or by calling 101.”