A sex offender who “obsessively” abused children over the internet has been jailed for ten years.

Derek Hutton, 49, of Railway Approach, Harrow, utilised MovieStar Planet, a social media website aimed at those aged 11-15, to strike up conversations with his victims.

He would then try to engage in sexual conversations with them and would encourage them to move onto video-chat platforms.

Here, it emerged, he would perform sex acts on himself or ask his victims to do so.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Hutton used false IP addresses and routinely wiped his computer history to hide, and persist in, his offending.

Following the investigation, the National Crime Agency (NCA) or partner agencies have safeguarded 72 children.

Martin Ludlow, manager at the NCA’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said: “Hutton’s offending was obsessive and continuous over almost two years.

“The administrators of MovieStar Planet reported Hutton the moment they became aware of him and gave their full assistance to our investigation.

“Their swift action and continuing help to our officers prevented further exploitation of children taking place.

“The NCA have identified and safeguarded victims to make sure they have the support they need.”

Hutton was placed on the sex offenders register for life, was banned from working with children for life and was given an extended licence period for five years.

He plead guilty to causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity in front of children, procuring the making of indecent photographs of a child and inciting children to engage in sexual activity.

A spokesperson from the NSPCC said: “Hutton is a sexual predator who deliberately targeted a social media site popular with children to abuse young victims for his own depraved pleasure.

“His crimes will have a lasting impact on his victims. It’s reassuring that the site alerted Hutton’s activity but parents also need to be aware of who their children are talking to online to help keep them safe.”