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Southwater man imprisoned for sex offences against young boys

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Robert Hepburn, 28, unemployed, of The Fieldings, Southwater, has been sentenced over a series of sexual offences against young boys.

He was sentenced to a total of five and a half years’ imprisonment at Brighton Crown Court on Tuesday (5 May) having been convicted on Monday 30 March, after a trial, of 18 sexual offences.

Ten of the offences were of causing or inciting engagement in sexual activity, seven were of possession of indecent images and videos of children, and one was of possessing prohibited images.

He will also be a registered sex offender for life and was served with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) to run indefinitely, severely restricting his access to children and computers.

There was no evidence of direct physical ‘contact’ offending against children and there is no evidence to suggest that any children are currently at risk.

Detective Constable Phil Peadon said: “Hepburn was an Assistant Scout Leader with a local Scout Group. We arrested him in August 2012 after receiving information, and numerous indecent images and videos and some prohibited images were found on a computer we seized from his address. Thousands of Skype and MSN Chat Logs were also been found on the computer and a number of Skype User Ids and email addresses were created.

“He then used these Id’s and email addresses to contact young boys and one young girl, some but not all of whom he met at or through the Scouts, befriending them before exchanging indecent images and sexually explicit messages and in some cases watching them carry out indecent acts on webcam.

“We have had the fullest co-operation from the Scouts Association and from local authority children’s services throughout this investigation, and families of the boys concerned have been kept informed.”

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