A man who masqueraded as members of One Direction and asked girls to expose themselves on social media has been jailed.

Mark Burrisson, 43, Fenton Road, Grays, was found guilty of 17 charges, including 11 charges of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, three charges of attempting to induce children to watch sexual activity and another three charges of possessing images of child abuse.

A court heard how Burrisson had contacted children aged aged 11 to 15 by using fake social media profiles of members of the boyband One Direction, including Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson.

He had invited the girls to send pictures to him exposing themselves and even sent indecent images of himself in three cases.

A family man, Burrisson had been contacting these minors under the noses of his wife and three children between 2012 and 2017.

Burrisson was eventually rumbled when officers seized his computers in February 2016 after executing a warrant.

They found 182 indecent images and reviewed hundreds of Skype chat logs.

Burrisson was later arrested and charged on October 8 last year after police confiscated his laptop and found the conversations along with child pornography images.

Mitigating, Noel Casey, told the court that his relationship had disintegrated with his family since he was charged with these crimes.

He added: “He is a man of good character and I hope your honour can take this into account as a mitigating factor.”

A jury found Burrisson guilty after only two hours of deliberating at Basildon Crown Court.

Sentencing was Judge Ian Graham, who said: “You attempted to engage in sexual activity with children over the course of four years, sometimes posing yourself as a member of a boyband.

“It involved a significant degree of planning and elements of grooming, and you not only lied about your age but also your very identity.”

Burrisson was given two years imprisonment, was placed on the sexual offenders register and handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Investigating officer PC Nick Riley, of Essex Police’s Online Investigation Team, said: “Burrisson targeted his victims through social media and led them to believe they were talking to famous people. 

“He deliberately claimed to be these people to seek out these young victims and engage them in detestable online conversations.

“He spun a web of lies, offering them tickets to music shows and claiming to be in love with them in order to obtain sexual images of these victims. 

“Burrisson denied the charges, claiming he wasn’t responsible. After hearing all of the evidence, a jury unanimously found him guilty on all counts.

“This case highlights the dangers our children face in talking to people online that they do not know personally.

“I would encourage children, their parents and carers to be extremely vigilant as the other person at the other end of an online conversation are not always who they claim to be.

“My advice would be to only talk to people you physically know. 

“Parents and carers can also speak to their internet providers about parental controls and safety tips.

“For help and advice, visit www.ceop.police.uk/safetycentre and www.thinkuknow.co.uk.”