A DEPRAVED shopkeeper jailed for sexually abusing a child returned to his sick perversion as soon as he left prison.

Davy Nicholls, 52, of Manor Road, Westcliff, has been jailed for 15 years at Southend Crown Court after admitting 12 offences involving children.

The pervert, who was previously jailed for four and a half years for abusing a 12-year-old girl in 2008, was caught after a customer spied a suspicious picture at his shop in London Road, Westcliff.

Investigating officer DC Gill Partridge, of the Essex Police’s online investigation unit, said: "The child involved in the latest crimes was understandably devastated, as were her family, to discover that Nicholls had been jailed for similar crimes.

"He managed to conceal his past and preyed on the girl for more than two years.

“He was extremely cunning and tried to keep the offences secret but fortunately a member of the public saw images on the computer at his shop and police intervened immediately.”

Officers uncovered a large stash of indecent images at the shop and on a camera and computer.

Further enquiries found that Nicholls had also been abusing a girl aged under 13.

The serial paedophile, who was already on the sex offenders’ register, was charged with three counts of sexual activity with a child under 13, one count of a breach of his sexual offences prevention order, one count of taking indecent images of a child and eight further offences of making and possessing indecent images of children. He pleaded guilty to all offences.

The court heard that Nicholls had previous convictions for offences of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and possessing indecent images.

But he was released on licence to re-offend part way through his jail term for his crimes.

Sentencing Nicholls for his new offences, Judge David Owen-Jones described him as a significant risk to children and members of the public and said there was the likelihood of serious harm and further sex offences if he was released from custody.

Nicholls was told he would have to serve a minimum of ten years, then five years on licence if he was considered to be suitable for release after ten years.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.