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A man from Leigh has been jailed for four years after admitting to committing 15 sexual offences against children.
Laurence Ives, 55, of Western Road, Leigh, was arrested at his home address on January 11, 2018.
Officers searched the property and seized a number of digital items including a mobile phone, laptop computer and a tablet device.
A forensic examination of the items revealed they contained more than 6000 indecent images of children, with almost 1500 of these being considered the most explicit type of images, classified as Category A, along with evidence that Ives had been engaging in sexual chat with children as far back as 2010.
Ives was charged with distributing an indecent photograph of a child, arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity attempting to case a child to watch a sexual act, two counts of making indecent photographs of a child and 10 counts of attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity.
He appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday July 15, having pleaded guilty to all offences and was sentenced to four years in prison, placed on the sex offender register for ten years and will also be the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.
Detective Constable Nick Riley, who led the investigation said: “Laurence Ives was a predator who used social media to engage in sexual chat online with children as young as 12-years-old.
“He prayed on young vulnerable people, grooming them online for his own sexual gratification.
“The horrible actions of this individual, sadly went undetected for ten years, but his criminal activity was identified as part of an investigation into another individual and through this we were able to arrest Ives within 24 hours.”
He added: “Our Online Investigation Team will always work to protect young people from people like Laurence Ives and we urge anyone who is a victim of crime, or know someone who is a victim of crime, to get in contact with us.
“We treat every case with the sensitivity and discretion it requires, safeguarding vulnerable people and helping them get the support they need.
“Your information could prevent another person from becoming a victim and help us catch those responsible.
“Parents and carers should be extremely vigilant around their child’s internet use, which includes their use of social media.
“For information, support and advice, please visit www.internetmatters.org.”