Car valeter who sent lewd pictures to nine-year-olds admits stealing underwear from customers' cars

Scott Johnson, 34, of Sycamore Road, Penwortham

Scott Johnson, 34, of Sycamore Road, Penwortham

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A perverted car valeter who admitted stealing childrens knickers and other clothing from customer's cars during a probe into offences against children has been jailed for two years.

Scott Johnson, 34, who worked at the Pristine car wash on Leyland Road, Penwortham, near Preston, sent lewd pictures of himself to two nine-year-old girls on Instagram, after asking one of them to send him a naked picture.

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

He was arrested after the sensible youngsters alerted their parents.

During a raid at the home he shares with his mother on Sycamore Drive, Penwortham, officers found childrens' and adults' underwear he had stolen from customers, as well as a ladies' T shirt, a fingerless glove, and socks.

Judge Heather Lloyd, sentencing him at Preston Crown Court, said: " By your own admission you've been doing this for years. What you have also done is contact children for sexual gratification.

"This behaviour is clearly ingrained in you so much so you stole children and adults clothing from cars you were valeting, you have therefore gone further than the average man who hides behind a computer screen.

" You have moved on to the next step. You have begun to behave abusively yourself.

"It has to be of concern in the moving images I've seen are those of babies. One little one was holding a bottle of milk.

"Your offending is deep seated. My concern is you will cross the line from seeking images to seeking out children and that is very troubling indeed."

The court heard Johnson followed celebrities popular with children on Instagram to get access to young follower's profiles.

His first victim, aged nine, received a photograph of a cup that said "what's your password"?

Prosecuting, Paul Cummings QC said: " She asked him why and he said he liked to look at people's profiles.

"She refused to give him a password but them he then offered to 'blag' her by saying he would provide her with passwords to the account for Britain's Got Talent contestants "Bars and Melody".

"He also texted her and said 'I like your attitude'."

Johnson repeated his request saying "Go on show me", told the youngster she sounded "fit", and sent a naked picture.

Mr Cummings added: "She asked him why he had done that. He said: "I didn't mean to send it."

"She said he shouldn't have done it and went to tell her parents what had happened."

In January 2015 another nine-year-old girl received a photograph of him exposing himself from an account called 'Free Willy', and a text message was sent to her saying: "I only do it to fit girls".

He was arrested in November 2015 at the car wash and his home was raided.

Electronic devices were seized and printed images of child abuse were found in his room.

In a police interview Johnson admitted he usually "looked for girls aged 12 to 13" and said he wouldn't have contacted the girls if he knew they were nine.

He claimed he had taken the clothing from motor cars during the course of his employment.

Johnson admits possessing indecent images of children including 12 of category A - the most serious in law, inciting a girl under 13 into sexual activity, theft, and making indecent photographs.

Defending, Richard Archer urged the judge to suspended his sentence saying he "wanted to change".

He added: "It is an extraordinarily frank explanation in his pre sentence report."

He revealed Johnson had tried to kill himself before his last court appearance.

Louise Pratt, manager of Pristine Car Wash, today said: " I along with the rest of the team were shocked and so very angry.

"I have no knowledge of the offences, and no awareness of the offence that occurred at Pristine Car Wash.

"We were aware of police involvement at our premises in November 2015, as Scott was arrested on our premises. This was explained to us as an offence regarding the manipulation of IP addresses, we were given no further information from Scott or Lancashire Constabulary.

"Scott did work here as a sub contractor, for a short time, but he was never employed by us.

All of our staff are DBS checked, and we will be giving consideration for wider checking of all sub contractors that we use in the future. We have built a community focused organisation, and are proud of our work within the local area, in particular supporting charities.

"We hope to continue this work, with the local community, and all of the staff at Pristine are focused on providing the best service, with the upmost integrity."