A SOUTH Shropshire youth posed as a girl on social media to befriend young boys to get them to send him indecent photos, a court heard.

Harry Sloan's victims were targeted over a two-year period in what was described as 'controlling, ruthless, menacing and chilling' behaviour.

The 19-year-old was also declared to be 'dangerous' when he appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court for sentence.

He was given four years custody at Young Offenders' Institution having admitted a string of offences including inciting sexual activity, distribution of indecent images and blackmail.

The court heard Sloan, of Tenbury Road, Clee Hill, threatened to post his victims' pictures online and send them their friends unless they provided further images and videos.

Judge Jonathan Gosling said Sloan's victims were very young and the offences had escalated in severity and menace.

"I have no hesitation in saying the defendant is dangerous and has no empathy with his victims, no understanding of the damage caused," he said.

He said it escalated to Sloan demanding a meeting and money to satisfy his continuing desires.

Judge Gosling said Sloan was 'controlling' and enjoyed using the situation as a means of exerting power over boys who thought they were talking to a girl.

“You carried out these crimes ruthlessly. It is really chilling to read these messages,” he said.

He said some of the messages showed how victims had begged for Sloan not to carry out his threats to expose them.

“You created a fresh persona of a girl for each victim. You selected young boys because you knew they would do anything to prevent the pictures going online. You are a dangerous man," said Judge Gosling.

Sati Ruck, prosecuting, had told the court Sloan pretended to be a female befriending youths aged 14 or 15 on social media networks Snapchat, Instagram and phone apps.

She said he had lured his victims into sending indecent photos of themselves by initially sending them nude pictures of girls.

One victim, a 14-year-old, was told an indecent photo of him would be sent to his friends unless he kept sending similar photos. Later Sloan contacted the victim telling him to pay £1,000 to keep the photos from going public.

Sloan had admitted a charge of blackmail, five of sending malicious communications, two of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two of making indecent images of children, two of distributing incident images of children and four offences of possessing 150 indecent images of children between May 2014 and October last year.