A former Sea Scout volunteer has been jailed for ten years after admitting 23 sex offences.
Stephen Smith, 23, of Bentinck Road, Newark, previously pleaded guilty to three counts of causing/inciting a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.
He also admitted three counts of arranging/facilitating the commission of a sex offence on a child, 15 counts of making indecent images of children, possession of over 400 indecent images of children, and possession of extreme pornography.
Smith, a former boating instructor at Farndon Sea Scouts, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday and was told he would be the subject of a life-time Sexual Offences Prevention Order and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
He will also never be able to work with children again.
His crimes were uncovered after a 14-year-old girl told police Smith had been contacting her through social networking sites. He began making inappropriate suggestions and asked the teenager to appear on a webcam.
He was arrested on June 15 2011 and Nottinghamshire Police’s Sexual Exploitation Investigation Unit (SEIU) used Triage Examiner software to scrutinise Smith’s online activity.
The system, which is stored on a memory stick, allows officers to scan a suspect’s computer and quickly finds indecent images of children.
It also searches for chat logs, email addresses and messages, web browser searches and desktop files.
The forensic examination revealed that Smith had been using social networking sites and chat rooms to contact two other girls, aged 12 and 13, as well as a woman in the Philippines, who he paid to sexually abuse children.
A total of 452 indecent images of children were recovered from his computer, which included photographs, videos and screen shots taken on Smith’s webcam.
Information regarding the woman Smith was in contact with in the Philippines was passed to the Philippino authorities so an investigation regarding the alleged abuse could be carried out there.
Detective Constable Andrew Taylor, from the SEIU at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Smith was embarking on a cycle of offending against children, which has now been abruptly halted.
“The 11 month investigation has put great pressure on the shoulders of the young victims, who have been brave enough to speak out against Smith.
“The girls he preyed on are the real heroes in this case and can now hopefully put this distressing chapter of their lives behind them and look forward to their bright futures.”
Smith has not worked at the Scout group since his arrest.
He is the fifth person to be convicted since the SEIU began using the Triage Examiner software in May 2011, and four others have received cautions.
DC Taylor said: “These men are now on our radar and will not be able to continue with their previous behaviour without us knowing about it.
“In years gone by, we would still be waiting for their computers to be forensically examined, which meant it took a significant period of time to bring offenders to justice.
“Now, we are able to present suspects with evidence found on their own computers very quickly, which means they usually admit their crimes very early on.
“The Triage Examiner software has significantly speeded up the process of investigating sex offenders and allows us to quickly move on to the next suspect.
“We are committed to finding and arresting those who facilitate the abuse of children by downloading indecent images and videos online.
“We will continue to use new and advanced tools and software to root them out of our communities and hold them to account for what they have done.”