A FORMER supply PE teacher will never be able to return to the profession after being jailed for the sexual incitement of underage girls and downloading indecent images of children.

Steven Longstaff, 28, was given a two-year sentence at Durham Crown Court after recently admitting six charges.

Four relate to a series of sexualised online chats with girls aged 13 to 15 between January and February 2015, during which Longstaff was made aware of all their ages at the time.

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Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said they came to light after the defendant was initially arrested in March 2015, when a lap-top computer was seized by police.

Examination revealed seven indecent images of children, aged eight to 15.

Police later seized a computer tower containing a further 51 indecent child images, featuring girls aged eight to ten.

Mr Dodds said Longstaff’s online search activity indicated an interest in young girls, and further analysis of the computer contents revealed Skype chats in which he attempted to cause or incite four girls to engage in sexual activity or send him intimate pictures of themselves.

He told one that the youngest person he had sex with was 13, but he would be prepared to, “go to ten”, and he agreed with a suggestion by the girl that he was a paedophile.

Mr Dodds said Longstaff also offered to pay to have sex with girls, in the 13 to 15 range.

Only one of the four girls was traced and she told police she could not recall the online conversation with the defendant.

When interviewed he claimed his only interest would be to contact females aged 18 or above.

Julian White, for Longstaff, said the offending was during a short period when the defendant was drinking heavily and in an emotional state, leading him to, “indulge himself with this type of behaviour.”

But Mr White said the defendant, of previous good character, had subsequently, “come to his senses”, and is considered a low risk of reoffending.

Jailing him, Judge Simon Hickey said over a few weeks the defendant was, “engaging in intimate online chats with a number of young victims.”

Longstaff, formerly of Sacriston, but more recently of Kirkstone Court, Kirk Merrington, will be subject to notification as a sex offender for ten years and an unlimited Sexual Harm Prevention Order, while he is also barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.