A Clevedon man has been jailed this afternoon (Friday) after sexually abusing children as young as two.

North Somerset Times:

Joseph Hastings, of Hazell Close, is a ‘prolific and predatory paedophile’ according to police, after he was sent to prison at Bristol Crown Court.

The 29-year-old was caught after sending two images of child sexual abuse to an undercover police officer online in 2015.

It prompted a large-scale investigation and he admitted 21 charges, including 15 of sexual activity with a child. All those victims were aged under the age of seven.

Judge Julian Lambert handed Hastings a sentence of 13 years and eight months, including a custodial term of eight years and eight months.

Geoffrey Colvin from the Internet Child Abuse Team said: “Hastings is a prolific and predatory paedophile who has abused the trust of his young victims for his own vile sexual gratification.

“We are determined to work with our partner agencies to make sure we are consistently tackling sexual abuse in all its forms.

“We’re committed to ensuring all our officers and staff are able to spot the tell-tale signs of exploitation and abuse to safeguard children across the Force area.”

A police spokesman added: “We would urge anyone who has any suspicions about children or young people being exploited or abused to please tell us. Every piece of information is important and we all have a role to play in keeping our children and young people safe from harm.

“We would always urge victims of any crime to come forward and talk to us. You can call us on 101 or report online here.

“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.”

* For more on this story, including exclusive quotes from the court case, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s North Somerset Times.