A PERVERT assistant head teacher from Halesowen who was caught with indecent images of children after luring young girls into "filthy" chat room conversations about sex has been jailed.

Andrew Shelton, 52, attempted to seduce girls aged between 10 and 15 and encouraged them to send him explicit pictures via Skype.

A court heard the online sex chats gave the married dad a "buzz" and he even made contact with the youngsters while working at Harborne Primary School, in Birmingham.

Shelton targeted the girls for his sexual gratification telling one 12-year-old she was "hot and sexy as hell" and he wanted to "hold, stroke and teach her to enjoy her body".

Police were alerted to his contact with one teenager over Skype during March and April last year and raided his Woodman Close home in Halesowen.

Officers found 93 indecent pictures of young girls on his laptop, which were believed to have been sent as a result of "disgusting" internet conversations dating back to 2014.

Shelton admitted eight charges, including attempted sexual communication with a child, trying to incite a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and possessing indecent images of children.

He was jailed for two years and eight months at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Tuesday (September 18).

Sentencing, Judge Jinder Singh Boora said: "These were systematic offences committed over a period of years.

"Some of the language used was disgusting and filthy when you thought you were conversing with children.

"You are a man who should have known better."

The court heard Shelton made contact with the girls -none of whom were pupils at the school where he taught - through several chat rooms.

Prosecutor Hugh O'Brien Quinn said: "He deliberately targeted young girls for his own gratification inciting them to sexual activity."

On September 28, 2015 he asked a girl who gave her age as 13 if she wanted a weekend in Birmingham.

Mr O'Brien Quinn added: "He spoke to her about sex with older men.

"He knew it was wrong and illegal and saw himself as a paedophile."

Shelton was rumbled when he contacted a girl called Chelsea who said she was 13 and told her she was a "real stunner" on March 17 last year.

But Chelsea was really an undercover police officer and Shelton was arrested on July 17 last year following the search of his home.

Sophie Murray, defending, said the disgraced teacher, who suffers from spina bifida, had since voluntarily sought help to break his addiction to young girls.

She added: "He has lost everything; his job, his wife, his relationship with his children. He is at rock bottom."

After the case, Detective Sergeant Rob Grace, from West Midlands Police's Public Protection Unit, said: " Shelton was trying to coerce children over the internet and encourage them to send inappropriate images.

"He was a role model for young people as a teacher but away from the classroom he preyed on them for his own gratification.

"Safeguarding of children will always be a top priority for the force.

"Anyone who encourages child abuse by viewing or sharing paedophilic images or engages in explicit conversations involving children needs to prepare themselves for being caught and hauled before the courts."

Following the hearing, an NSPCC spokesman said: “As an assistant headteacher, Shelton would have known the devastating effects of grooming and online abuse on children yet he persisted with this sickening behaviour over a period of years.

“This is a reminder of the serious risks young people face online and shows how important it is for parents talk to their children about their digital lives.

“The NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign is calling for an independent regulator to be introduced to hold social networks to account for child safety on their platforms and to help tackle online grooming.”

The NSPCC helpline is available to anyone with concerns about child abuse on 0808 800 5000. Children can contact Childline – free, confidential and open 24 hours-a-day – on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk.