Added on 12 September 2017 at 15:23
A 22-year-old man who posed as a teenager on social media to find children he could exploit has been jailed following a four-year police investigation.
Shaun Hudd, of Lawrence Weston, was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment with an extended licence period of five years at Bristol Crown Court, after admitting 23 offences. He was also given an indeterminate Sexual Offences Prevention Order by the court.
The offences included causing/inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and making and distributing indecent images of children
Hudd, a former Scout leader, contacted in excess of 60 children online, through social media and instant messaging applications, where he would pose as a young person.
He used these fake profiles to befriend children before encouraging them to send him indecent images of themselves.
Investigating officer DC Simon Da Costa said: “During the course of our investigation we seized computer equipment from Hudd which was analysed by specialists with our High Tech Crime Unit.
“We found Hudd was using a variety of social media and instant messaging sites to pose as a 13-year-old boy or girl and befriend children.
“He would encourage them to send him indecent images and in some cases would threaten or blackmail them if they didn’t go along with his requests.
“This was a complex and lengthy investigation and I’d like to praise the bravery of the victims who provided us with statements and supported our investigation.
“I hope this shows there’s no place for sex offenders like Shaun Hudd to hide online and despite his devious and manipulative behaviour, he was unable to escape justice.”
A practical guide for parents and carers whose children use social media can be found here – the guide includes an outline of the risks, practical tips and advice on how to talk to children about social media use and their behaviour online.