Phillip Rogers
Phillip Rogers has now been jailed for nearly four years at Croydon crown CourtMet Police

A man who pretended to be a girl online, in order to trick young boys into sending naked pictures of themselves to him, has been jailed.

Phillip Rogers, 21, of Mallards Way, Wallington, was sentenced to three years and nine months at Croydon Crown Court after he admitted to more than a dozen child sex offences.

The court heard how in June 2015, an 11-year-old boy told his mother that a teenage girl he had started talking to via Facebook was blackmailing him. The boy said the pair started chatting in February 2015 and their conversations became sexual, including sharing naked pictures of each other.

Soon, the 'teenage girl' the victim had been talking to asked for more naked pictures. When he refused, she threatened to forward the images she had already received to his school friends.

The victim's mother reported the matter to West Midlands Police. Officers conducted an investigation and discovered the Facebook user was registered to Rogers' address in Wallington, south London.

During the investigation, the 21-year-old's computer equipment and mobile phone were seized, both of which contained a large number of images of naked teenage girls and images of young boys' genitalia.

Police believed Rogers may have had as many as 20 victims in locations including West Midlands, Sussex, Surrey and Devon and Cornwall. He was arrested in October 2015 and eventually pleaded guilty to 15 counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of possession of indecent images of a child.

Throughout the process, Rogers never gave any account or explanation regarding his crimes.

Following the sentencing at Croydon Crown Court, detective inspector Keith Ward, senior investigating officer from the Met's Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command, said: "I wish to acknowledge the courage of the children in coming forward and providing the vital evidence needed to prosecute Rogers.

"Often, children and young people who are victims of online sexual offences do not recognise that they are being abused. The use of fake profiles to gain the trust of children, to engage with them as friends and then share intimate photos is a risk to be considered by all parents, carers and children with such easy access to social media.

"The following threats of embarrassing releases of photos or chats are then used to persuade the victims to provide more images or deter the reporting of crime.

"Online abuse can be reported online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and advice on online grooming can be found on many websites such as the NSPCC. My advice to any child or young person is do not share pictures online that you would find embarrassing if anyone else such as your friends or parents were to see them. You have no control over the images once sent."