May 2022

Paedophile caught after paedo hunters descend on his building

A paedophile who sent dozens of messages to what he thought were young teenage girls was caught after paeo hunters managed to get into the accommodation unit where he was living.

Huw Thomas didn’t realise he was messaging self-described “paedophile hunters” as he sent a slew of vile messages to accounts he believed belonged to underage girls.

Yet members of the Lancashire-based group, Fleetwood Enforcers UK, discovered the address he was living at and went there to try to catch the 46-year-old themselves.

It was only after they accosted other people living at the supported living unit and found out Thomas wasn’t there that police were contacted about his behaviour.

Peter Hussey, prosecuting, said Thomas had sent messages to members of the group from a bogus Facebook account in which he claimed to be a 25-year-old man.

Mr Hussey said police would eventually uncover 44 separate chat logs and charge Thomas with multiple counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity across a seven week period from early May to late June last year.

However, their investigation to this was kickstarted when Thomas, who was previously jailed for possession of indecent images and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in 2018, was targeted by the Fleetwood Enforcers group.

In a summary of one of the logs read out in court today, Thomas repeatedly asks a woman he thought was 14 whether she can remove her bra and send him pictures. He also encourages her to perform a sex act. At the time, Thomas was living in an accommodation unit after release from his previous prison stint.

Mr Hussey said: “A number of people from a group calling themselves the Fleetwood Enforcers located the address in Waterloo and on Saturday, May 15, a number of them turned up at the premises and spoke to other residents, seeking the name used by the defendant.”

He said the group managed to get into the building but could not locate Thomas, who was out at the time, or even identify him due to the alias he was using. No staff were in the unit because it was the weekend but they later found out and contacted the police.

It was at this point that the police then spoke to Thomas, who became “quite nervous” and later gave them a phone he was using for analysis.

He then confessed he had been sending messages over Facebook. Thomas then spent brief periods on remand in prison because of breaches of a sexual harm prevention order but upon his release he used other phones to try to chat to other girls.

Cleaning staff at his new address in Southport then found another phone and contacted police, who took Thomas into custody again.

June 2018

Paedophile caught after handing his phone into Cash Converter shop

A 42-year-old man was caught with indecent photos of children – after handing his phone over to a Cash Converter store.

Police raided Huw Thomas’ home on Trinity Street, Birkenhead , after being tipped off by the shop manager, and discovered he was involved in a cyber chat on his TV with a 15-year-old girl, which was partially hidden by a film playing on the main screen.

The dad-of-one was posing as a teenager and had asked the teen to send pictures of her performing a sex act. A pornographic image was also featured in the chat log.

The girl, whose name cannot be reported, was traced to the Cambridge area and spoken to by police after which the teen admitted sending the messages, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Electronic equipment at Thomas’ home was seized which revealed he had 320 indecent images of children, 159 in Category B, the second most serious category, 161 in Category C, 46 of which were videos.

Also found were indecent images of a 14-year-old girl taking selfies, while dressed in her school uniform.

One photo showed the same girl topless.

Evidence of a browser cleaner to try and wipe Thomas’ hard drive was also detected, Paul Blasberry, prosecuting, said.

A victim impact statement obtained from the girl, revealed the incident had affected her self-esteem. Her mum said it had turned a “happy young girl unhappy and reclusive”.

Judge Brian Cummings QC jailed Thomas for a total of three years and imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order. He said Thomas should sign the Sex Offender’s Register for life.

Thomas had pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing and making indecent images of children and one of inciting a child to indulge in sexual activity.

There was a brief mention of a hotel room being booked for Thomas and the girl to meet and have sex, but that hadn’t been followed up or taken place.

When interviewed by police, Thomas, who has slight learning difficulties, denied being involved in the chat and claimed his computer had been “hacked.”

Also recovered were images of the 15-year-old girl performing a sex act, which Thomas claimed he could not remember, adding that other people had access to his devices.