A disgraced Bradford councillor has been warned he faces a long jail sentence for sexually abusing two schoolgirls.

Liberal Democrat Bob Hargreaves was found guilty by a jury of eight of the 13 charges he faced, including one of attempted rape.

He is also expected to be expelled by the Lib Dems when they meet on Monday, said group leader Jeanette Sunderland.

During a ten-day trial, Bradford Crown Court heard how Hargreaves, 62, a former school governor, molested the girls in the back of a butcher's shop in the early 1990s and would give the girls £3 after touching them.

After nearly seven hours of deliberation the jury yesterday found him guilty of four counts of indecent assault, three of indecency with a child and a further count of attempted rape. He was cleared of three further counts of indecency with a child and two of indecent assault.

After the guilty verdicts were returned, Judge Roger Scott released Hargreaves on bail pending his sentence in January.

But Judge Scott warned him: "I make you no promises as to what's going to happen to you save and expect, unhappily for you, you will be receiving a long sentence of custody."

The court was told that the abuse started when Hargreaves, of Buttermere Road, Bolton, Bradford, made one of the girls, who were both then aged about 11, perform a sex act on him. He paid her £3 and told her not to tell anybody.

Prosecutor Sharon Beattie said the next time this happened Hargreaves indecently assaulted her. Miss Beattie told the jury that the abuse continued and Hargreaves started saying to her "Next time we will go a bit further on to better things".

The girl brought a friend with her because she was scared that Hargreaves would try to have sex with her, but Hargreaves then began abusing the second girl as well and gave them money.

The court was told that the abuse came to an end when Hargreaves tried to rape the first girl. He had put £20 down and said to the girls Who's going to be first?'.

Hargreaves was questioned by police in 1994 when similar allegations were made against him. Although he was prosecuted, the case never went to trial. Hargreaves denied the allegations and claimed the first girl was blackmailing him.

Hargreaves, who has lived in the Bolton area with his common-law wife for more than 20 years, was elected to the Council to serve the Bolton and Undercliffe ward in May 2004.

Coun Sunderland said he was suspended by her group when the allegations came to light although he is still listed on Council records as an alternative member of Bradford North Area Committee.

In the 2005/6 financial year Hargreaves, who is self-employed, claimed a full basic allowance of £11,777.04 and a special responsibility allowance of £463.65 for being a member of the licensing panel.

Reacting to the guilty verdicts, Coun Sunderland said: "We will meet formally on Monday to take the decision as to what to do. My recommendation to the group will be to expel him."

The Council would only say that Hargreaves was referred to the Standards Board for England as soon as the matter was brought to its attention. The Standards Board has said it is not a matter for it to consider as the conduct complained of did not occur while he was a councillor.

If Hargreaves receives a prison sentence of more than three months he is automatically disqualified from serving as a councillor.