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Former Lincolnshire table tennis coach made and distributed hundreds of indecent images of children

A former table tennis coach has been sentenced after downloading and distributing hundreds of indecent images of children. Alexander Mercer, 31, of Commerical Road in Grantham, was sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday, September 1.

He pleaded guilty to seven charges in July, which detailed vile crimes committed between 2014 and 2020. He was charged with making (here interpreted as downloading) 47 category-A indecent images of children and 102 category-A videos of children between September 15, 2014 and May 2020.

Category A is the most severe type of sexual offence and relates to penetrative acts. During that same period, he downloaded 56 category-B images of children and 77 category-B videos of children, on top of a staggering 449 category-C images of children and 15 category-C videos.

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Between September 22, 2014 and January 28, 2016, Mercer distributed 24 category-A videos of children to another party online. At the same time, Mercer distributed six category-B images of children and 31 category-B videos of a child.

This was on top of the distribution of 24 category-C images and one category-C video. Mercer was the target of detectives from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team, known as POLIT.

They were made aware that incident images and videos of children were being downloaded at an address in Grantham. A warrant was executed in Commerical Road on May 12, 2021 and Mercer was arrested.

A number of different digital media devices belonging to Mercer were also seized during the warrant and they were found to contain indecent images and videos of children. DC Gemma Oxby, lead investigator for the case, said: “We continue to evolve our investigative tools and processes with a clear message to criminals operating online – soon you will have nowhere to hide.

“Lincolnshire Police has strong working relationships with local and national partners including social media operators, with all agencies sharing information to clamp down on online criminal activity. Technology is evolving all the time and while these investigations can take some time to complete, everyone involved is determined to safeguard our children and bring offenders to justice.

“I would like to thank everyone for their hard work in this case and want criminals to know this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in Lincolnshire.” Mercer was handed a three-year community order and a 30-day rehabilitation requirement, on top of 120 hours of community service.

He has also been given a sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register until 2028. Lincolnshire Police did not provide a mugshot of Mercer as his punishment was below 12 months in custody.

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