A St Neots man who targeted and groomed children online and then encouraged them to send him indecent images has been sentenced to eight years in prison today (Wednesday).

Gary Wiseman, 51, of Queensway, in St Neots, pleaded guilty to a number of sexual offences relating to young girls earlier this year.

Last year, police received information that Wiseman may have been in possession of indecent images of children, and on May 14, officers attended his home address and arrested him.

He was interviewed at Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough and admitted chatting sexually to children online and being in receipt of indecent images of children over a period spanning the last two to three years.

Officers from the High-Tec Crime Unit (HTCU) forensically examined the contents of Wiseman's mobile phone which revealed a large amount of indecent images of children.

Wiseman openly admitted to officers that he targeted children online and encouraged them to send sexual photos and videos to him, he then would forward some of these on to other men.

In interview he told police he was "really very sorry to everyone that this has affected. I'm ashamed of myself, I should have stopped but curiosity just caused me to keep going back to them".

On January 21 this year he was charged with six counts of causing or inciting a child aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity, one count of causing or inciting a child aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity, one count of causing a child to watch a sexual act, two counts of distributing indecent images of children and one count making 229 indecent images of children.

He pleaded guilty to the charges at Peterborough Crown Court on March 22.

Today, Wiseman appeared at Huntingdon Crown Court and was sentenced to eight years in prison, and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

DC Lloyd Metselaar, from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), said: "Wiseman has been prolifically targeting young girls on the internet by using social media apps on his mobile phone.

"He groomed numerous girls over a lengthy period of time to engage in sexual activity by sending explicit images of themselves to him. On occasions he would take on the persona of a teenage boy in order to get what he wanted.

"It is our duty, as police officers, to protect members of the public, particularly children, from people such as Wiseman. By bringing him to justice and putting him behind bars, this should serve as a clear message to all paedophiles and sex offenders - we will catch up with you and you will face the full consequences of your own actions.

"I would encourage parents of children who have access to the internet to take an active interest in what their children are doing online and who they are talking to."

INFO: Advice and information about internet safety can be found in the cybercrime section of the force website. You will also find advice and support on matters such as child sexual exploitation and serious sexual assault under the crimes and support section.