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A man who secretly filmed people as they were using the toilet has been jailed.
Matthew Thomas, of Meadowbank Drive, Ellesmere Port, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday 6 August where he was sentenced to 32 months in prison.
The 39-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to voyeurism, recording images of children, three counts of taking indecent images of children, three counts of making indecent images and two counts of possession of extreme pornography.
An investigation was launched in September 2020 when a woman using a toilet at a business noticed a bright light, which appeared to be coming from a jacket hung up in the cubicle.
Upon closer inspection the woman also noticed that there was a hole in the pocket of the jacket and a camera lens sitting up against it.
Police were called and Thomas was arrested on suspicion of voyeurism.
Following his arrest, officers seized three mobile phones, an iPad, laptop and other computer equipment.
During an examination of the equipment officers discovered more than 100 videos of a sexual nature, including voyeurism and upskirting, dating back as far as 2008.
In addition, officers also found 28 indecent images of children and two videos of extreme pornography.
Following his sentencing DC Lois Elvey, previously of Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit, said: “What Thomas did was inexcusable – he secretly recorded his victims in order to fulfil his own sexual gratification.
“It was only by chance that his crimes were uncovered when one of his victims discovered a camera hidden in the pocket of a jacket.
“When we examined his electronic devices we discovered 67 separate videos of people using the toilet, which involved 17 separate victims, and some were under the age of 18 when the footage was filmed.
“We also found examples of upskirting which Thomas had filmed while on a day out.
“Thankfully, the strength of the evidence against him was so strong that he was left with no option but to plead guilty to all of the charges against him and he is now facing the consequences of his actions.
“I hope that the sentence handed to Thomas today will provide reassurance to his victims, who have shown an extraordinary amount of courage and strength throughout the course of the investigation, and allow them to move forward with their lives.”
In addition to his prison sentence Thomas was ordered to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.
He will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.