A former Scout Master from Ellesmere Port has been jailed after admitting a string of child sex charges.
Terence Hamblett pleaded guilty to all 20 offences he was charged with – including inciting another man to sexually abuse his own infant son on a webcam on multiple occasions for Hamblett’s sexual gratification – at Chester Crown Court on 12 November 2018.
The 44-year-old, who used to run a Scouts group in Ellesmere Port, returned to the court for sentencing on Thursday 10 January, where he was jailed for 12 years.
Cheshire Constabulary’s investigation into Hamblett’s activities began on 8 September 2016 following information received from another police force.
Officers arrested him on suspicion of possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children and after executing a search warrant at his home in Seymour Drive, Ellesmere Port, they seized a number of internet-enabled devices.
Forensic examination of these devices revealed 922 indecent images and videos of children being sexually exploited, including 233 of category A, the most serious type.
They also revealed that Hamblett had distributed more than 600 files containing child sexual abuse material to victims and other offenders via Skype.
Hamblett, using the Skype accounts bennyboy4900 and jordbroomy, pretended to be a teenage boy when communicating with victims.
Claiming to have a broken webcam to conceal his true age and identity, he sent teenage boys indecent images and videos in exchange for them performing sexual acts for him on a webcam.
Detectives also uncovered evidence of Hamblett inciting a fellow paedophile to sexually abuse his own infant son on a webcam during their communications via Skype over a three-year period.
Nearly 14,000 messages were sent between the two men, which included the exchange of indecent images.
The messages showed that Hamblett liked to be referred to as ‘master’.
Further investigation of Hamblett’s offending revealed that he had installed a hidden camera in the ceiling of the toilets of a café he ran at JTF Mega Discount Warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent.
Video footage of him setting up the camera was found on one of his laptops, as were 12 individual clips of two teenage boys using the toilet and getting changed.
Detective Constable Andy Kent, of Cheshire Constabulary’s Major Investigation Team, said: “This was a highly complex investigation involving thousands of images and videos, more than one-and-a-half million Skype messages and the identification of a large number of victims and other offenders both in the UK and abroad.
“As a result of the work by our dedicated officers we have been able to show that Hamblett is a professional paedophile who used the internet and social media to sexually exploit vulnerable victims for his own sexual gratification.
“He possessed, made and distributed an extremely large number of images and videos of children being sexually exploited and abused and he duped teenage boys into performing sexual acts for him on a webcam by concealing his true age and identity.
“Hamblett even incited another paedophile to abuse the fellow offender’s infant son, again asking them to do this on a webcam so that he could watch.
“He also installed a hidden camera in the toilets of a café he ran in Stoke-on-Trent and kept video footage of teenage boys using the facilities and getting undressed.
“Thankfully Hamblett is now behind bars serving a significant prison sentence and he can no longer sexually exploit and pose a threat to children.
“We are committed to pursuing and bringing to justice those who engage in online child sexual exploitation and play a part in the sexual abuse of children and I would like to thank all the officers involved in the investigation for their hard work in unravelling the extent of Hamblett’s offending and securing this conviction.”
On top of his custodial sentence Hamblett was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
Chief Inspector Alex McMillan, from Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit, said: “This case highlights the fact that people you communicate with on Skype and other forms of social media may not be who they claim to be.
“It also highlights the need for parents and guardians to warn their children of the dangers of communicating with people via social media, to check that they are using those things safely and to keep an eye out for any warning signs of sexual exploitation.
“I hope that Hamblett’s conviction encourages anyone who has been subjected to similar offending to report it to the police.
“They should feel confident that they will receive the help and support they need from our specialist officers and other support agencies we work alongside.
“All victims will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and any allegations will be thoroughly investigated, with the wishes and the needs of the victim as our main priority.”
To report a sexual offence call Cheshire Police on 101. Information can also be passed anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.
For advice on identifying signs of sexual exploitation visit www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/child-sexual-exploitation/signs-symptoms-and-effects.