A 46-year-old man has been sentenced to eight and-a-half years in prison for a series of child sex offences.
Wayne Philip Phillipson appeared at Mold Crown Court today (Thursday, 9 February) charged with 18 offences in relation to Operation Blue Breeze, a UK-wide CSE investigation.
Phillipson of Kent Road, Consett, used Snapchat and an app called Wink to befriend 12 to 14-year-old children across the country and incited them to send him indecent images.
He was homeless and would travel across the country attempting to meet children, whom he had contacted online, in person before ultimately being arrested in Wrexham city centre on 9 June, 2022.
Upon arrest, his mobile phone was found to contain in excess of 100 indecent images and North Wales Police were able to evidence contact with 29 children across the UK.
In today’s court proceedings, Phillipson was also sentenced for another child sex offence which took place in the Durham area.
Detective Constable Dan Pleass said: “Wayne Phillipson is a dangerous predator who used social media to target vulnerable children and gain their trust in order to exploit them to fulfil his own sexual desires.
“This case highlights just how important it is for children and their parents to know exactly who they are speaking to online. For more information on keeping yourself and your children safe online I urge you to visit https://hwb.gov.wales/zones/keeping-safe-online/
“Firstly, I would like to praise the victims and their families for having the courage and determination to come forward to give their accounts, which ultimately have resulted in a dangerous sexual predator being removed from our community.
“I also want to pay tribute to those victims who didn’t feel ready to speak to police on record about what had happened but still provided vital evidence to help us with our enquiries.
“Finally, on behalf of North Wales Police, I am extremely grateful for the support offered by multiple UK police forces during the course of this investigation who have shown that the police will leave no stone unturned when investigating those who seek to do harm to the most vulnerable members of our society.
“I would also ask anyone who has been contacted by Wayne Phillipson or his alias 'Josh Lawton' to contact police on 101 and discuss your concerns, which will be treated in full confidence. When you are ready to talk, we will be ready to listen.”