A man has been jailed after he blackmailed a 13-year-old girl online following an investigation by a team dedicated to targeting criminals online to protect children from harm.

Earlier this year West Mercia Police’s Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team (OCSET) received intelligence a man from Kidderminster was preying on children on the internet.

The suspect had blackmailed a 13 year old in the Kent area over 3 months, aggressively demanding indecent images of the child and threatening to expose her if she didn’t comply.

OCSET carried out an investigation and in June a warrant was carried out at an address in Park Court, Park Street, Kidderminster.

Wayne Hudson, 45, of Park Street, Kidderminster, was arrested and subsequently charged with engaging in sexual communication with a child, causing /inciting the sexual exploitation of a child and causing / inciting a child U13 to engage in sexual activity.

Further investigation led to further young victims around the country being identified and safeguarded. In total 5 children were safeguarded by the investigation.

On Tuesday, 24 November, Hudson was sentenced to 6 years 8 months at Worcester Crown Court after he pleaded guilty of the offences. He was also registered as a sex offender and made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order until further notice.

Detective Inspector Matt McNelis, from OSCET, said: “This was a complex inquiry utilising internet intelligence and investigation techniques, digital forensics strategies and numerous applications for data from Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.

“We have identified and successfully prosecuted a dangerous offender and I am proud to say that we have been able to protect these vulnerable children and give parents advice to help ensure safety online.

“We proactively seek out criminals involved in online child sex crimes and are confident our increased proactivity and prioritisation in this area is seeing an increase in the number of offences reported and we will continue to work with police forces across the country and other agencies to maximise identification of possible offences and pursue offenders.”