A Reigate teenager has been jailed for 18 months for possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Maximillian Coughlin of Holmesdale Road was sentenced at Guildford Magistrates Court last Thursday (June 5) for making and distributing 154 pictures, and inciting a boy aged under 16 to commit a sex act.

The sentence followed an investigation by Surrey Police's Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT). The 19-year-old was identified through his account on the web chat program Skype, which he used to communicate and share indecent images with other users.

It was on Skype that he persuaded the teenage boy to commit a sex act.

Officers from Surrey Police subsequently conducted a search of his home in August last year and seized a laptop computer which held information about his Skype account, and files of indecent images ranging from the most indecent being category A to the least category C.

Coughlin previously pleaded guilty to ten counts of distributing indecent images, ten counts of making 87 images, one count of attempting to distribute 18 images, and one count of inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

The court heard that of the ten counts of distributing indecent images, 39 were in category A, 30 in category B and seven in category C.

The court also heard that of the ten counts of making 87 images, 14 were in category A, 15 in category B and 58 in category C, while relating to the one count of attempting to distribute 18 images, 12 were in category A and six in category B.

Coughlin was ordered to sign the Sexual Offenders Register for ten years and was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

The order prevents him using the internet to contact any child under the age of 16 or to be in contact with anyone under the age of 16 unless supervised. Detective Sergeant Chris Greatorex from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team, said: "Thanks to the work of our officers and cooperation from other forces we have thankfully brought another offender to justice.”

He continued: "The victims in these cases suffer untold damage as a result of the redistribution of images around the internet, of which Coughlin was guilty of partaking in.

"His actions are a clear reminder that the internet can be a dangerous place and any interaction online with strangers should be treated with extreme caution.

"This investigation and sentence shows our commitment to safeguarding children from serious harm and targeting criminals who use the internet to prey on them.”

Anyone with concerns around someone they know, who is a victim or offender, can contact Surrey Police's POLIT on 101, or 999 in an emergency, or through the online reporting system at:www.surrey.police.uk Alternatively, people can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.