A SEXUAL predator who encouraged seven different children to send him indecent images has been jailed for more than six years.

Timothy Jackson was finally exposed when an eight-year-old girl from south Cumbria was found to be on a call with him by her mother, who contacted police.

Jackson had pleaded guilty to 13 offences - including causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child, and possessing indecent images of children - prior to being sentenced at Preston Crown Court today.

The court heard Jackson contacted seven children, aged between eight and 13, on online chat sites between 2017 and 2018, encouraging them to send him indecent images.

Judge Heather Lloyd spoke of the toll Jackson's actions had taken on a victim, saying the girl's mother 'wrongly feels she has let her daughter down'.

"Whereas her daughter was once a happy, care-free girl, she now says her daughter is suffering with mental health difficulties," said Judge Lloyd.

She sentenced Jackson to six years and nine months in prison.

Acting Detective Sergeant Rob Hayes, of Cumbria Constabulary's crime and safeguarding team for the south of the county, said Jackson's 'stock phrase was 'I don’t care what you look like or how old you are'.'

“Jackson boasted to one of his victims that the police would never find out about him, and took steps to evade detection while continuing to groom children as young as eight," he said.

"This investigation shows that Cumbria Police takes child online safety seriously and we will pursue child sex offenders wherever they live and no matter what measures they take to hide their crimes."

Following an investigation by police in Cumbria, Jackson was arrested in Lincolnshire in October 2019.

Brett Gerrity, for the Crown Prosecution Service, described Jackson as a 'dangerous sexual predator' who sought out children 'in order to sexually exploit them for his own depraved sexual gratification'.

"He showed utter disregard for the damage he would be causing to these young and impressionable children," said Mr Gerrity.

“I hope that all those affected by his depraved actions will be able to move on with their lives and will see that justice has been served as he begins this sentence. Other children are now safe from this very real threat to their childhood .”

Judge Lloyd issued Jackson, of London Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, with a sexual harm prevention order. Jackson must also sign the sex offender register for life and his IT equipment, used in committing the offences, is to be destroyed.