A MAN has been jailed after paying to receive photos of a child in the Philippines being sexually abused.

Michael Wilkinson, from Bexhill, used connections he had made while backpacking in Asia to contact the family of a girl aged between nine and 12.

Images and a video were sent to him of the child in specific poses which he had ordered as part of the transaction.

The 36-year-old was first arrested in April 2020 when police received intelligence he was downloading indecent images of children.

After a search warrant was executed at his address, police realised the extent of Wilkinson’s offending.

The Argus: Michael Wilkinson, from Bexhill Michael Wilkinson, from Bexhill

Wilkinson, who worked as a decorator, was sentenced to six years in prison at Hove Crown Court after admitting to inciting and facilitating the sexual exploitation of a child under 13, making indecent images of children and possessing prohibited and extreme images.

He will be a registered sex offender for life and was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which severely restricts his access to children and digital devices for life.

Wilkinson also faces a five-year travel restriction order on him from the day of his release, which police can apply to renew every five years.

Detective Constable Richard Gill, of the Sussex Police paedophile online investigation team, said claims Wilkinson was downloading indecent images of children were confirmed after his devices were seized.

"But only then as our enquiries continued did we realise that he had also been paying through a third party in the Philippines, for a girl, aged between nine and 12, to pose for indecent photos which were then sent over to him,” he said.

"It became clear that Wilkinson had made contacts in the country whilst backpacking some years ago, and used them to make contact with the family concerned for his own sexual gratification over an extended period.”

DC Gill said one video of the child was sent, otherwise he received still images in specific poses which he had ordered as part of the transaction.

The police officer also thanked the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center, who were responsible for tracking down the child and safeguarding her and her sisters.

"This was a great example of inter-agency and international law enforcement co-operation which has reached out across more than 10,000 miles to take action against a predatory offender and safeguard innocent children,” PC Gill added.

The conviction follows an investigation by Sussex Police detectives working with the UK National Crime Agency and officers in the Philippines National Police.