A SEXUAL predator who groomed an 11-year-old boy online has been sentenced to four and-a-half years in jail.

Mark James Chester, 35, performed sex acts on a webcam and pestered the child with texts, Swindon Crown Court heard.

He admitted three counts of causing or inciting a male child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, two of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and one of causing a child under 13 to watch an image of sexual activity.

He was told he would be on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

After the hearing today Chester, of Buckland Close, Swindon, was described by PC Helen Bott of Swindon CID as a sexual predator who has preyed on a child to receive his own sexual gratification.”

She said: “Chester groomed a young child into engaging into conversations of a sexual nature.

“Despite knowing his victim was just 11 years old, he continued to pester him with text messages and through the internet to engage in sexual activity.

"As well as sending messages, Chester was able to perform sex acts on his webcam to the young victim. Luckily, the child did not have access to a webcam himself, but this highlights the danger of such equipment.”

She warned: “This case should offer a stark reminder to young people and parents that any device with an internet connection can be used to exchange messages with strangers.

“It is important that appropriate safety controls are put in place and that parents are aware of what their children are using the internet for.”