Police praise parents for helping catch paedophile

Jeffrey Hart
Jeffrey Hart

Police have praised parents who helped catch a paedophile who tried to take a picture of their child on Skegness beach,

Officers said cases such as those of Boston man Jeffrey Hart are rare - and hope other parents are reassured that he is now behind bars,

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said: “Thankfully it is rare that we see an offender as prolific and as blatant as Hart. We hope it is of some reassurance that he will be behind bars for many years.

“This case shows that if you have concerns about the behaviour of an individual you think is acting in a suspicious way you should report it. It is thanks to the vigilance of parents that this man was caught and convicted.”

Jeffrey Hart, of London Road, Boston, was handed sentences amounting to six years by Lincoln Crown Court last Friday.

Police say that on July 7 2013 he was involved in an incident on the beach at Skegness where he was challenged by the father of a three year old girl for taking photographs of his daughter.

Officers say his telephone was seized by the girl’s parents and he ran off.

Police analysed the phone and Hart was subsequently arrested last December and his home searched.

Following this arrest, he was charged with various offences of making and possessing indecent images of children. Further inquiries were begun using material recovered from his home when a search warrant was executed on the day of his arrest.

He was arrested again on February 20 this year and interviewed about the additional indecent images of children stored on the devices recovered from his home.

A force spokesman said: “He made candid admissions in interview and was further charged with a global possession of indecent images of children (IIOC), and the making of IIOC.”

Hart appeared at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday for sentencing in respect of all charges laid.

The first set of charges referred to Hart being in possession of 1136 IIOC comprising of images of various classifications of seriousness from levels one to five.

He was also charged with a breach of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) and a number of making IIOC and distribution of IIOC offences.

The second set of charges referred to Hart being found in possession of over 47000 IIOC (again classified in various levels of seriousness) as well as being charged with a number of making IIOC offences.

This afternoon Hart went before Judge Rafferty at Lincoln Crown Court and the following sentence was imposed on him:

For each count of making IIOC / distribution he received a six-year custodial sentence.

For each count of the possession of IIOC he received a four-year custodial sentence. All to run concurrently.

He also received a four-year extended licence following release.

With the custodial sentence and extended licence period he together received 10 years.

The breach of SOPO and a conviction for possession of prohibited images was included within these sentences.

The judge described Hart as being in possession of a ‘substantial and staggering’ number of images and saw him as possessing a severe danger of committing further offences against children.