A man who tricked boys online into believing he was a teenage girl in order to obtain indecent images has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Phillip Rogers, 21, of Mallards Way in Wallington, coerced boys aged between 11 and 15 to send naked photos of themselves over the internet.

He was imprisoned yesterday, September 11, at Croydon Crown Court.

Investigating officer, DC John Daly, said: "Rogers is a predatory paedophile who deliberately targeted vulnerable young teenage boys and then coerced them into performing sexual acts online.

“I would like to praise the courage of the boys for coming forward and giving accounts, which ultimately forced Rogers to plead guilty to the 18 counts he has been convicted of."

In June 2015, an 11-year-old boy informed his mother that he was being blackmailed by a teenage female he met over Facebook.

The boy engaged in sexual conversations with Rogers from February 2015 where the victim was sent naked images of a female before sending back explicit photos of himself.

Rogers, posing as the female, threatened the boy to send more images and warned that if he refused he would send the ones he already had to the victim's school friend.

The boy's mother reported this to the West Midlands Police who then discovered the Facebook user’s address was in Wallington.

Rogers’ computer and phone were seized from his home address on July 6, 2015, after a warrant was secured.

A “large number” of images of young naked teenage females and images of male genitalia were discovered. Conversation logs with teenage boys were also examined.

Twenty boys were identified from the photographs with 17 of them assisting with the investigation.

Detective Inspector Keith Ward, senior investigating officer from the Met's Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command, commented: "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."

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Rogers’ predatory actions will have had a devastating impact on the lives of the young boys he coerced into sexual activity. We hope they are receiving help and support to overcome their experiences.

“It is thanks to their bravery in speaking out that Rogers has been brought to justice.

“Children should be as safe online as they are offline and we urge young people concerned about their safety or about anyone contacting them online to seek help from a trusted adult immediately.”