Steven Hankers hacked CCTV to watch people having sex

Image source, North Wales Police
Image caption,
Steven Hankers cut himself off from the real world and spent most of the past decade online in his bedroom

A man who hacked hundreds of home cameras to watch people having sex and undressing has been jailed for six years.

Steven Hankers, 32, of Johnstown, Wrexham, had more than 4,000 videos gathered from homes in the UK, Europe and the US.

He was caught when police investigated him over allegations he incited children to take part in sex acts.

Hankers admitted a string of sex offences at Mold Crown Court.

Simon Rogers, prosecuting, said internet addict Hankers accessed home cameras and CCTV, which had been bought to allow people to check their homes while they were away.

He obtained usernames and passwords for the cameras online and had more than 3,000 addresses for different cameras.

When he was arrested he was found to have access to 16 active cameras and had 4,000 saved videos.

'Isolated individual'

One couple in the UK who were traced by police said they felt sick after finding out they had been watched.

They said they expected to feel safe in their own home and it never occurred to them someone with sinister intentions was watching them.

Hankers also had recordings of children, who he had lied to about his age, taking part in sex acts as part of a game where he awarded them points for what they did.

Andrew Green, defending, said Hankers was bullied at school, had cut himself off from the real world and had spent most of the past decade in his bedroom using the internet.

Ten year of isolation had eroded his empathy and distorted his outlook to the point of becoming criminal, he told the court.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said Hankers had taken advantage of children as young as 11 years old and said the case should serve as a warning to those who become obsessed with the internet.

"The picture I glean is sadly of an isolated individual spending hours alone in your bedroom, accessing the internet and seeking to influence young children on it," he said.

Hankers admitted possessing and downloading indecent films, inciting girls to engage in sexual acts and voyeurism.