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Paedophile who hid camera in cafe toilets jailed

Terence Hamblett Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Video footage of Terence Hamblett setting up the camera was found on one of his laptops

A paedophile who hid a camera in the ceiling of the toilets of a cafe he ran to film young boys has been jailed for 12 years.

Former scout master Terence Hamblett, 44, posed as a teenage boy in online chat rooms and distributed hundreds of images and videos of child abuse.

Messages between Hamblett, of Joy Lane, Widnes, and another paedophile, showed he liked to be referred to as "master".

He pleaded at Chester Crown Court guilty to 20 child sex offences.

The offences included inciting another man to sexually abuse his own infant son on a webcam on multiple occasions over a three-year period.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Terence Hamblett was jailed for 12 years for a string of child sex offences

Cheshire Police began investigating Hamblett in September 2016 following information received from another police force.

Officers arrested Hamblett - who used to run a Scouts group in Ellesmere Port - on suspicion of possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children.

After executing a search warrant at his then home in Seymour Drive, Ellesmere Port, they found 922 indecent images and videos of children being sexually exploited.

Police found that Hamblett had distributed more than 600 files containing child sexual abuse material to victims and other offenders via Skype.

He used two Skype accounts to pretend to be a teenage boy when communicating with victims.

Hamblett claimed to have a broken webcam to conceal his true age and identity, police said.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption Terence Hamblett installed a hidden camera in the toilets of the cafe he ran

Nearly 14,000 messages were sent between Hamblett and another paedophile, which showed he liked to be referred to as "master".

Police then discovered he had installed a hidden camera in the ceiling of the toilets of the cafe at the JTF Mega Discount Warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent.

Video footage of him setting up the camera was found on one of his laptops, as were 12 individual clips of two teenage boys using the toilet and getting changed.

Det Con Andy Kent said Hamblett was "a professional paedophile who used the internet and social media to sexually exploit vulnerable victims for his own sexual gratification".

Hamblett was ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for life.

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