South East Wales

Cub leader Scott Nicholls jailed for grooming girls

Scott Nicholls Image copyright South Wales Police

A cub leader who used internet chat rooms to groom young girls has been jailed after he was caught by a police officer pretending to be a 12-year-old.

Scott Nicholls, 41, from Taunton, Somerset, pleaded guilty to a string of sex offences at Cardiff Crown Court.

The paedophile was caught when he travelled to the Premier Inn hotel in Bridgend to meet the girl and was arrested by waiting police officers.

He was sentenced to six years with an extension of four years on Friday.

In total, he pleaded guilty to 19 charges, including attempting to incite girls, possessing indecent images of children, the distribution of indecent images of children and causing a child to watch a sexual activity.

The court heard how between 16 and 26 June, Nicholls attempted to groom a 12-year-old girl called "Welsh Beth" online - who was in fact the undercover South Wales Police officer.

Nicholls suggested they meet up and, on 26 June, arrived at the hotel where he was confronted by police.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionNicholls was arrested at a hotel where he thought he was meeting a 12-year-old girl

The court heard he had a bag containing sexual items including two sets of handcuffs, bondage restraints and a camcorder.

When caught, he told police: "I knew this was a set up. My life is ruined."

After being caught, police searched his home where they found indecent images and videos on his computer.

They also uncovered further cases where Nicholls had tried to groom young girls through chat rooms, several of whom police discovered to be men themselves.

Nicholls had worked as an ambulance care assistant, was a cub scout leader in Taunton for boys and girls aged eight to 10 and volunteered at the 2012 London Olympics.

Prosecuting, Andrew Davies said: "The tenor of the conversations and the actions of the defendant demonstrates he is not only a predatory paedophile but a persistent one at that."

Defending, Kevin Seal said Nicholls realised he "had a problem" which he acknowledged had been growing since possibly 2005.

"It's reached a stage now where it does need treatment and Mr Nicholls is the first to acknowledge that," he added.

Judge Eleri Rees said a psychiatric report reached the conclusion Nicholls had "a clear pathological sexual interest in young and very young children" and that he "suffered from paedophilia".

She added he posed a "very high risk of serious harm towards children".