A DEVON man who set up an online forum for sharing indecent images of children has been sentenced to three years in jail.

Nicholas Craig (38), from Sidmouth, was arrested by National Crime Agency investigators after he was identified as an administrator of a group on the online chat platform Kik.

Craig would monitor the forum, verify new members and remove those who were not active enough or failed to supply indecent images of children as per group rules.

After arresting Craig at his home in February 2022, NCA officers seized five devices. Forensic examination found them to contain 1,518 indecent images of children in categories A-C (A being the most severe).

Further enquiries showed that Craig had used a number of alias accounts in the names of teenage boys and girls to engage children in sexualised chats on Twitter and Telegram. The youngest person he contacted was aged 10.

When interviewed, Craig admitted to being one of the group administrators and claimed he had collected indecent images of children in order to report it to Kik and Twitter. However, he had made no such reports.

Craig admitted three counts of attempting to engage a child in sexual communication and 16 indecent images of children offences at Exeter Crown Court on May 12 this year.

All the offences were committed between December 2017 and February 2022.

He was sentenced to three years imprisonment at the same court today (June 15).

NCA Senior Investigator Patricia Lee said: “The account Craig gave about the Kik group he administered simply wasn’t plausible.

“His failure to report its contents to police or social media platforms completely undermined his cover story.

“The NCA works tirelessly to protect children from sexual abuse and to ensure those who abuse them face justice.”

The NCA’s CEOP Education programme supports parents, carers, children and the professionals to ensure young people have safe and positive experiences online.

Anyone being pressured or threatened into sending sexual images or videos online should remove themselves immediately from the conversation, not respond further to any contact, and report the matter to police or a trusted adult.

There are a range of resources available on the website: thinkuknow.co.uk , for adults – to support them in navigating the online world and conversations about it with their children, and children themselves – to help build their resilience online and learn what to do if something doesn’t seem right.