A 31-year-old paedophile who went on holiday with a 15-year-old girl and her family after convincing them he was a teenager has been jailed for six years.

Clinton Stothard groomed the girl online and tricked her into thinking he was her boyfriend.

He then duped her entire family into believing he was 19, managing to win their trust enough so they would take him along on holiday.

Stothard, from Barnsley, also targeted a number of other girls online and encouraged them to send sexually explicit photos.

One of his victims, a 14-year-old from Bristol, exchanged more than 3,000 calls and texts with him during a two-week period.

Sentencing Stothard at Sheffield Crown Court on 4 December, the judge described him as "every parent's worst nightmare" and "a shark swimming in the waters of the internet...preying on children".

He had previously pleaded guilty to a total of 18 indictments relating to 39 grooming and child sex abuse offences against four children.

In addition to being jailed for six years, Stothard will also be subject to an extended period on licence for 12 months and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order that prevents him from living with any person under 18. It also allows police to monitor his internet use.

The court heard how Stothard came to the attention of the police after concerns were raised over his contact with a vulnerable girl in Bristol.

An analysis of his electronic devices, seized following arrest, revealed the extent of his offending.

The investigation also led to the arrest of another man who has since been jailed for four years on child sex offences.

Owen Hall, 26, of Hartcliffe, Bristol, groomed the same 14-year-old Bristol girl targeted by Stothard and incited her to engage in sexual activity.

Detective Constable Kim O'Donnell, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said: "Clinton Stothard is a predatory paedophile who masqueraded as a 19-year-old and used a variety of aliases as he befriended and groomed his victims.

"Such was the extent of his deceit that he effectively groomed one girl's entire family – winning their trust so much they felt comfortable taking him on holiday.

"The intensity of his grooming was quite frankly shocking, with another of his victim's bombarded with thousands of calls and texts over a short period of time.

"I hope the sentence handed down by the court goes some way to providing all those he preyed on with some sense of closure and that this case sends a message to those who commit such crimes, that we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society and geography will not be a barrier for us.

"I also want to reassure anyone else affected by this inquiry you can come forward knowing you will be believed, listened to and offered all the support you require."