A pervert who sexually abused young children has been locked up after his victims bravely spoke out.

Alan Craigs was sentenced to five years and five months in prison after he pleaded guilty to a series of sex offences against two children.

Cleveland Police said one particularly vulnerable youngster bravely confided in a third party in June 2021 and the matter was immediately reported to them.

Officers from CAVA (Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adults) ensured the child and their wider family were safeguarded and offered support while enquiries continued.

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Another young victim was soon identified and the sex offender was questioned regarding the allegations the following month.

The 61-year-old, of Hawkstead Court, Newton Aycliffe but formerly of Hartlepool, was charged early last summer with five counts of sexual assault on a child under 13 years and one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child under 13.

When he was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court, he was also made subject to a SHPO (sexual harm prevention order) on release and will face strict conditions and restrictions which will be monitored.

CAVA Detective Chief Inspector Matt Murphy-King said: “Craigs initially did all he could to cover his tracks, denying what he had done.

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“Our protracted enquiries then expanded to include a further victim and eventually Craigs had no option but to plead guilty.

“I hope today’s sentence provides a degree of comfort to the youngsters and their families who have been deeply affected by what he did.”

He added: “Anyone who believes they can seek gratification from abusing vulnerable children and young people must be identified and dealt with; my officers share a determination to do this and they’re committed to achieving the best possible justice for all survivors of abuse.”

People can report abuse of any kind to Cleveland Police online via the force website or by phoning 101.