A PAEDOPHILE preyed on two young girls and systematically abused them for years.

Azam Haleemdeen wormed his way into the lives of the two girls in Crawley to indulge his sick fantasies.

The 37-year-old cleaner was found guilty of 12 counts of sexual assaults against two girls after a trial at Brighton Crown Court.

Haleemdeen appeared for sentence this week and was caged for 13 years for his offences.

It was revealed that he was eventually stopped when the girls, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, reported the abuse to their teachers in October 2019.

This was promptly reported to the police who arrested Haleemdeen on the same day.

The abuse started when they were both at a very young age and continued into their teenage years before they found the courage to report what was happening to teachers at school in October 2019.

Detective Sergeant Martin Alchin-Gadd said: “Our investigation found that Haleemdeen had over a period of time some seven years ago gained the confidence of the two vulnerable youngsters, using them systematically for his own sexual gratification until they found the courage to speak out.

“We praise them for coming forward, supporting our investigation, and giving evidence in court.

“Reports of this nature are always taken seriously and we prioritise the safeguarding of victims whilst seeking prosecutions in every case that we can.

“Any young person who is victim of such terrible offending can report to a trusted adult - including school teachers as in this case, to the NSPCC, or directly to the police.”

Haleemdeen, a Sri Lankan cleaner, from Broadwalk, Crawley, is now behind bars.