“This was one of a series of promotional materials designed to promote the Stockton Cycling Festival to a variety of audiences.
“It was certainly not our intention to imply that women and girls cannot participate in every part of the Festival and having listened to the concerns raised, we have decided to withdraw this particular leaflet and produce a redesigned version.
“We do a great deal of work to encourage female participation in sport and active leisure, including women’s running clubs and women’s cycling groups, and unlike many national cycle race events the Stockton Cycling Festival includes elite women’s racing, as well as recreational rides which are open to all.
“The Festival takes place over the weekend of July 11 to 13 – just one week after the Tour de France comes to the North of England for the first time – and we would like to be very clear that it is very much for everybody.”
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Robert Hodgson, from Stanley, County Durham, committed the offences on the girls, aged as young as five or six, up to the age of 13.