A 54-year-old man has been jailed for six years after admitting a number of sexual offences against young girls.
Paul Anthony Middleton, from Stamford, was arrested in May this year after having been ‘caught’ by a vigilante group.
An undercover journalist from the group had set up a profile of a 13-year-old girl to whom Middleton had been talking to in a sexual manner, requesting indecent images, encouraging her to engage in sexual activity, and attempting to meet for sex.
During police interview Middleton, who worked as a tree surgeon, admitted the offences and stated that he had talked to a number of underage girls in that manner: sending indecent videos and images of himself, requesting indecent images of the girls, requesting them to send videos to him, and attempting to arrange to meet for sex. He also admitted to the fact that he had indecent images of children on his phones and had distributed the images to other users on a social network site.
Middleton admitted 13 offences including attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming; inciting a child aged 13 years to engage in sexual activity; making indecent images of children and distribution of indecent images of children.
He was sentenced to six years in prison at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday (Monday 30th November) and also sentenced to remain on licence for four years after that prison term.
DC Nicky Linn, of Lincolnshire Police’s Internet Child Abuse Team (iCAT) said: “I’m pleased with the lengthy sentence given to Middleton. He is a dangerous and predatory paedophile who, amazingly, has shown no remorse for what he has done.
“While as police officers we try and dissuade vigilante groups from taking any kind of direct action - mainly because it could put people’s personal safety at risk or even jeopardise a police investigation – we are grateful to the group involved in this instance for bringing Middleton to our attention. It certainly helped give us a good foundation on which to investigate his offending.
“I have to commend the bravery of the victims in this case and hope that today’s sentencing helps them start to put behind them a very difficult and distressing part of their lives.”