Police have welcomed a 10 year sentence for a pervert who committed a string of sex offences against children.
John Paul Evans was jailed for 10 years for inciting sexual activity in a child under 13, sexual communications with a child and making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
Evans faced a total of 21 charges when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court.
Police have welcomed the sentence which comes after police raided Evans' home in Billingham.
Cleveland Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) Investigator, Shaun Storey, said: “Evans was arrested in Autumn 2017 after we searched his then home address in Billingham under warrant.
“Months of painstaking investigation began immediately, including forensic examination of several electronic devices we had seized from Evans’ home.
“These devices revealed over 3, 000 communications to victims across the world – where Evans usually pretended to be a 19 year old man. They also contained the most appalling images of child abuse and extreme pornography.
“Some of the images he gathered from his victims had been distributed to others.
“In October this year, the Crown Prosecution Service authorised 21 charges of inciting sexual activity in a child under 13, sexual communications with a child and making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
“Let there be no mistake – each and every indecent image of a child is an image of child abuse. Perpetrators have no concern for the suffering and degradation they cause victims.
“This trial has focused on two children who Evans groomed online. One victim was just 11 years old when the communications and abuse online started, and the other was 15.
“Youngsters should always remember that people online may not be what they seem. They should be very careful not to engage with worrying or suspicious behaviour or online conversation and report any concerns to a trusted adult or an organisation such as CEOP, Internet Watch Foundation - or directly to police.
“I welcome the sentence handed to Evans and I hope it brings some comfort to the victims and their families as they try to rebuild their lives.
“My colleagues and I will continue to work with local, national and international agencies to weed out and deal with this horrific practice. And at this stage I’d like to pay tribute to the great help we’ve had from other law enforcement agencies in the UK and the USA in safeguarding victims.
“Together we will do all we can to identify those who groom, coerce and abuse vulnerable children and we will do all we can to ensure offenders face the full force of the law.”
Evans most lately lived in Toft Hill, Bishop Auckland.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a child protection charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse, is calling for anyone with concerns to get help.
The foundation works closely with the likes of the police, social workers and education staff to ensure children are as safe as they can be.
A spokesman said: "If you are concerned about what you are looking at online, or the online behaviour of someone you know, you can call the confidential and anonymous ‘Stop It Now’ helpline on 0808 1000 900 for advice, support and help to stop. Or visit stopitnow.org.ukto find out more.”