THE drummer of the Lancashire Hotpots who was found dead at his home was under police investigation for alleged internet-related child sex offences.

Tom McGrath, 38, known as Willie Eckerslike in the four-strong St Helens-based comedy folk band, was discovered hanged at his home in Nutgrove.

He was on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of inciting children to commit sexual activities.

It is understood police have been looking into allegations that a man had posed as a 17-year-old boy on Facebook and began entering online discussions with young girls.

It is believed they were also examining online conversations on instant messaging websites and web cams.

Mr McGrath had been suspended from his job as a St Helens College music lecturer after the police allegations came to light.

His computer was seized last month as part of a police inquiry.

A police statement read: “Merseyside Police can confirm that a 38-year-old man from St Helens who was arrested in April on suspicion of inciting children to commit sexual activities, has died.

“His body was found on Tuesday, May 11 at his home in St Helens. The death is not being treated as suspicious and has been referred to the coroner.

“At the time of his death the man was on police bail.”

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned on Friday.

St Helens College, meanwhile, confirmed Mr McGrath had been suspended following the arrest, however, it is not believed the allegations involve his students.

News that he had been under investigation by police surfaced after the Star’s website reported he had died last week.

Prior to those allegations the band released a statement which read: “The sudden death of a friend is never easy to comprehend, when it’s someone who has profoundly affected your life since the minute you met him, then it hits you all the harder.

“Our thoughts are understandably with his family at this incredibly difficult time.”

A spokesperson for the band said forthcoming dates at Nuneaton and Cambridge had been cancelled.

However, the Hotpots have dates scheduled for the rest of the summer.

Their quirky tunes – which include plenty of homespun lyrics – have searned a growing national following.

The band’s previous theatre tour played to sell-out audiences across the North West.

They have previously supported ardent fan Paddy McGuinness on his tour, taking in 18 dates, performing to more than 20,000 people.

They have earned national radio play and support from BBC R2 Chris Evans, 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and BBC R1’s Colin Murray.