The specialist team that protects children from online sexual abuse have ensured a sexual predator has been put behind bars.
Christopher Lawrence, of Limes Avenue, Chigwell, was arrested by the Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) in June last year as part of an investigation into indecent images of children.
At the same time officers seized the 30 year-old’s mobile phone and iPad.
When they examined it, they discovered he had posed as a 19 year-old man to have 23 separate conversations on social media with children aged between 11 and 15.
He used a fake name and stock images from the internet and made sexual comments in the conversations.
Officers also found more than 20 indecent images of children on the device.
When interviewed, Lawrence admitted he would engage with sexual conversations with people he knew were children while high on cocaine.
He denied having a sexual interest in children.
He was later charged and at Chelmsford Crown Court in June admitted 12 counts of sexual communication with a child, three counts of making indecent images of children, two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
At the same court on September 6 he was jailed for three years and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Detective Inspector Jim Adams, from POLIT, said: “Christopher Lawrence is a prolific offender who knowingly targeted children for his own sexual gratification.
“Thanks to the meticulous work by my officers he is now behind bars unable to pose a risk to young people.
“Every day my team is identifying predators who pose a danger to your family, target them, and ensure they cannot abuse children online.
“This is often difficult and distressing work and I want to pay tribute to their dedication.”