A middle-aged Chippenham man was today jailed for six years and two months after pleading guilty to multiple child sex offences after pretending to be a teenager.

Benjamin Hollands, 41, of Odcroft Close, appeared at Swindon Crown Court and pleaded guilty to inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity on nine occasions, causing a child watch or look at an image of sexual activity three times and making an indecent photograph of a child.

Back in 2017, Hollands created an online profile on Snapchat where he posed as a teenage boy. He spent months grooming a 13-year-old girl via online messaging and phone calls.

The girl was under the impression Hollands was a 15-year-old boy. Hollands would regularly pressure the girl into sending him indecent images of herself as well as videos of sexual acts.

He continued to make multiple online profiles purporting to be teenage boys, and his messages gradually became more manipulative and threatening before the young victim reported her concerns to a teacher and her parents, and a police investigation began.

Extensive enquiries were carried out to establish that Hollands was behind the accounts and he had been contacting two other 13-year-old girls from Wiltshire in a similar way.

Det Sgt Rob Blake said: “This was a complex investigation because the offences were committed solely on social media platforms. He used social media to hide behind various fake profiles and abuse children, but detectives worked tirelessly to unpick his online personas.

“Hollands targeted young girls online and manipulated and pressured them into sending him photos for his own sexual gratification, leading them into thinking he was of a similar age as them.

“He has shown no remorse for his actions throughout the investigation - he is manipulative, selfish and dangerous, and I am pleased that he has been given a custodial sentence which reflects the seriousness of his actions.

“I’d like to thank the victims in this case who have shown nothing but bravery in supporting police throughout this investigation and provided statements to court which have helped ensure this man has been jailed.”

Hollands was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.