A predatory scout leader and lay preacher lured boys as young as four into his home with promises of sweets and money before filming them performing sex acts, a court has heard.

James Bailey, 69, of Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, is alleged to have preyed on three boys under 11 over the course of a decade having “bought” their complicity with treats including ice cream and action films.

The court heard Bailey persuaded the youngest of the alleged victims, just four when the abuse began, to let a dog lick his private parts while the boy’s older brother was also made to carry out sex acts.

And the eldest brother, who was six during the earliest alleged offences, was filmed masturbating by Bailey, who assured him that “no one else” would watch the footage.

The boy was too afraid to speak out about the abuse “in case he got smacked”, said prosecutor Tony Badenoch.

Appearing at Croydon Crown Court on Monday, the jury heard Bailey, a lay preacher at a Croydon church, earned the trust of the brothers’ family before subjecting them to a catalogue of abuses behind their parents’ backs.

Bailey, who the family knew as “Jim”, is accused of taking advantage of this trust to spend time alone with the eldest boy in a room he rented in Spa Hill, perpetrating a series of sexual offences between April 1991 and May 1993. Mr Badenoch said: “It was in this room that Jim masturbated the boy regularly.”

“All of this was very risky – not least because at times the married couple were in the room next door.”

The court heard he later begun abusing the boy’s four-year-old brother, who says Bailey put his hand down his trousers and groped him, bribing him into silence with bowls of ice cream and a Fab ice lolly.

Much of the abuse took place at Bailey’s Spa Hill lodgings with both boys present, the court heard.

He is also alleged to have molested the younger brother at South Norwood Leisure Centre in Portland Road.

Bailey is also accused of abusing a cub scout, unknown to the brothers, between 1997 and 2000 when he was a scout leader.

Mr Badenoch said: “Bailey has an unhealthy interest in young boys and is deeply manipulative.

“His offers of sweets, ice cream and money were not merely treats. They came at a price and that price was abuse.

“All of the complainants were vulnerable in the sense that they were children.

“They were entitled to look to adults around them for care and guidance.

“They have been manipulated by an abuser.”

Bailey was first arrested in November 2009 after the two brothers, then aged 25 and 21, recognised him while shopping in Tesco.

Bailey is charged with seven counts of indecent assault of a male under 14 and eight counts of indecency with a child under 16.

He denies all charges.

The trial continues.