A businessman from Doncaster who pretended to be a porn star has been snared in a massive police investigation into a child sexual exploitation ring that has seen 10 men jailed for a total of 34 years.
Mark Stuart Lindsay, aged 33, struck up an internet relationship with a 13-year-old girl and then lured her back to his home to have sex with him and his friends, a court heard.
His actions triggered the probe because her concerned mother checked her phone and uncovered horrifying images.
Lindsay, whose family home is in Cooper Street, Hyde Park, was part of a huge North Yorkshire Police enquiry that identified 30 suspects - none of whom knew each other - who groomed the schoolgirl online for their own sexual gratification.
The investigation began when the victim’s mother contacted the police and handed over her daughter’s mobile phone as she was concerned about the interaction she had had with a number of older men.
The phone was the catalyst for a wide-ranging inquiry that uncovered offences which ranged in seriousness from possessing indecent images to sexual activity with a child.
The offenders lived in various parts of the UK and were aged between 20 and 45, although one was a 14-year-old boy.
Lindsay, who was living in the Grimsby area at the time, is now serving a prison sentence of four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty at York Crown Court to offences of meeting a child for sexual purposes, having sexual activity with a child, and meeting a child following sexual grooming.
The court was told Lindsay met the girl through an internet dating website where her profile said she was 18 - but she quickly told him she was really 13.
Over a period of seven weeks they exchanged 821 text messages, most of which were sexually explicit.
When they met in a York car park a sexual act was committed - and he claimed to be a porn star with contacts in the movie industry through which she could appear in films when she was older.
Lindsay then persuaded the girl to travel to his home near Grimsby to have sex with him and his friends.
She had to steal money for her rail fare before he put her on a train home.
Her parents, believing she was at a friend’s house in York, contacted the police and her phone was handed over to officers.
Lindsay’s barrister said he was having financial problems at the time, was drinking heavily and using cannabis, and could not explain his actions but was ‘deeply ashamed’.
Det Chief Supt Simon Mason, head of crime at North Yorkshire Police, said “This investigation uncovered large-scale exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of several men, some of whom were married and had successful careers.
“Although some of the suspects ceased all contact with the girl when they discovered her age, many didn’t and they have been punished appropriately for their crimes.
“The scale of the data analysed to reach such a conclusion is matched only by the determination and dedication of the investigation team and our safeguarding partners, all of whom acted in close partnership. I am very proud of their efforts in what was a difficult investigation.”