A man who paid three young boys to strip while filming them has been jailed for 40 months.
Leigh Pilkington, 47, approached two victims – one being just eight years old – while they were playing in a stream and began filming them. Firstly asking them if they wanted to make some money, Pilkington told them to take their shoes off and stand in the stream for a “YouTube dare”.
After giving one of the victims £1.50, Pilkington then told the boys to take off their T-shirts and lie in the water, which they did. Pilkington then gave one of the victims £5, before telling both boys to take their pants off and sit in the water.
With both boys being hesitant to do this, Pilkington responded by telling them to get naked. Both began to panic with one describing himself as shaking and unable to move. The 47-year-old was disturbed by a dog walker and fled.
However, police were able to identify him, and his mobile phone was seized. Officers later found a video of another boy being filmed in Accrington.
During the video Pilkington dares the victim to take his shoes off and dance for money. After the child does this Pilkington thanks him and gives him two £1 coins.
Pilkington did not know any of his victims. They have all since received support from specially-trained officers.
During a search of his Accrington home, police found a Wicker clothing basket filled with children’s clothes including a brownies and rainbows top despite there being no children living at the address.
He was later charged with three counts of inciting a boy under 13 to engage in a sexual activity.
He pleaded guilty to all three offences and was jailed for 40 months. Pilkington was also made subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told to sign the Sex Offender Register for life.
DC Claire Slater, of East CID, said: “Pilkington approached the first two victims while they were out playing with their toys in a river and instantly began to film them. He sought to gain their trust by giving them money and offering them false opportunities of starring on a Youtube channel all the while obtaining footage of them to selfishly obtain sexual gratification.
“Thankfully, the victims of the two separate incidents realised something was seriously wrong when Pilkington began asking them to strip naked and none of them gave in to his perverted demands.
“I welcome the custodial sentence handed down to Pilkington. The court order means that his access to children will be limited following his release from prison and that he will be monitored by the authorities for the remainder of his life.
“This was a harrowing investigation, and I would like to thank all the officers involved for not only helping to sensitively identify the third victim but for also compiling the evidence which led to a dangerous offender being put before the courts. I would particularly like to thank the dog walker who recognised the children’s distress and called the police, he ensured that they were returned safely to their parents”
If you believe somebody may have been the victim of a sexual offence, report it online via https://doitonline.lancashire.police.uk/ or call 101.