A child sex abuser took advantage of four victims in “abhorrent” ways over several years, a court has heard.

Bolton man John Fairhurst, 40, sent his victims intimate photos and asked them to take part in degrading acts as part of his campaign of abuse.

He was arrested in October last year and a trial at Bolton Crown Court heard about how he could become aggressive towards his victims.

Detective Constable Phillipa Fairclough, from Greater Manchester Police’s Bolton district, said: “Firstly, I want to thank the victims in this case for their incredible bravery in coming forward and helping us with the investigation into Fairhurst’s crimes.

“Fairhurst’s acts over several years were abhorrent and I am glad that he is now behind bars. I hope that the sentence is able to bring some comfort to his victims.

"This was a highly emotive and complex investigation to work on and we are committed to putting sexual offenders behind bars.

“I want the public to know that we thoroughly investigate every report that comes into us.”

After his trial Fairhurst, of Dudley Avenue, Bolton, was convicted of 17 counts of sexual offences.

This week Judge Nicholas Clarke KC sentenced him to 24-years in prison with  six years to be served on licence.

Judge Clarke also hit Fairhurst with an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and an indefinite restraining order.

DC Fairclough said: "Detective Sergeant Kayleigh Wiggins from Greater Manchester Police, who was the senior investigating officer of this case, would like to thank all the victims for speaking out and the team within the child protection team at Bolton for their hard work and dedication.

"If you or someone you know has been a victim of child sexual abuse, please do get in touch with us, as we will do our utter best to help you.

"You can contact police on 101, or via our website gmp.police.uk. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."