Paedophile living in St Neots was caught out by undercover police officers posing as ‘girls’ online

Man in St Neots who thought he was talking to young girls online is caught by undercover police. Picture: Archant

Man in St Neots who thought he was talking to young girls online is caught by undercover police. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A paedophile who thought he was speaking to two teenage girls on the internet was caught out by undercover police officers.

John Piesse, 53, of Longden Road, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, used a social media site to chat to what he believed were two 13-year-old girls.

The chats took place between September 11, 2018 and January 4 last year and both were sexual in nature, despite the ‘girls’ making their age clear.

Piesse was tracked down to his home in St Neots, where he was living at the time, by his IP address, email address and phone number - and the information was passed to officers in Cambridgeshire by a different police force following their undercover operation.

Officers carried out a warrant at Piesse’s home where a laptop was discovered. At the time of the warrant Piesse was at work, but attended Huntingdon police station later the same day where he was arrested on suspicion of sexual communication with a child.

In police interview he admitted chatting to the teenage girls and claimed he used the site for “escapism” and to “fulfil sexual fantasies”.

The laptop found at Piesse’s house was analysed and found to contain Skype conversations with various women – including two different teenage girls aged 15 and 17.

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The chats took place between December 2017 and April 2018, and revealed both girls had sent Piesse indecent images – 19 category C and one category B in total.

Piesse had also sent pictures of himself and his genitalia to the 17-year-old girl.

In a second voluntary interview regarding the material found on the laptop, Piesse admitted having the two conversations with the girls over Skype. He told officers he knew it was “reckless and inappropriate” and said he “deeply regretted” that he didn’t stop it.

Piesse was subsequently charged with engaging in sexual communication with a child, two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and two counts of making indecent images of children.

He pleaded guilty to all five charges at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on August 18.

Detective Sergeant Gavin Sylvester said: “Piesse’s behaviour was completely inappropriate. Using the internet to target young and vulnerable girls will not be tolerated and thankfully he was stopped and arrested as a result of an undercover operation by another police force.

“Alongside this, was the discovery of indecent images on the laptop seized from Piesse’s home. A child is victimised not only when an indecent image is taken, but also every time it is viewed or shared.

“Protecting young people from harm is one of our top priorities and we will continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”

Piesse’s case was committed to Cambridge Crown Court for sentence on October 26 where he was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

In addition, Piesse was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Anyone who is concerned someone may have been convicted of a sex offence, and could be posing a risk to someone, can apply for disclosure information through Clare’s Law and Sarah’s Law.

For information and advice about child abuse, including sexual abuse, visit the force’s dedicated child protection web page.