A RAPIST has been jailed for more than four years for multiple sexual offences and making indecent images of children.

An investigation into Alex Symeonides, of Westcliff Park Drive, Westcliff, was launched in October after Essex Police's specialist team received intelligence that the 20-year-old was using an internet connection to view indecent images of children.

He was arrested and during interview he admitted accessing indecent images of children.

As the investigation progressed, officers found a number of indecent images on his devices. They also discovered evidence of sexual assault offences.

Following this work Symeonides was charged with two counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and three counts of making indecent photographs of a child, and he admitted all these charges at court.

Symeonides appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Monday, 10 June where he was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

Detective Constable Matthew Wright, who led the investigation, said: “Symeonides is a dangerous offender and Essex is a safer place with him behind bars.

“We are committed to protecting people from harm and will leave no stone unturned in our work to secure charges against predatory offenders.

“Our forensic and detailed work throughout this investigation revealed additional offending and with the evidence placed in front of him, Symeonides had no option but to admit his guilt.

“Essex is no place to hide for sexual offenders and those who abuse children.

“I hope this sentence helps those impacted by Symeonides’ crimes on their road to recovery.”

Alongside his jail sentence Symeonides was issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Last year, Essex Police's online investigation team made more than 600 arrests or suspect interviews for these offences and secured 424 charges – the most of any force anywhere in the UK.

In the past year the team also solved 92 per cent of the 450 investigations they carried out.

Essex Police has the third highest conviction rate for sexual offences which make it to court, while last year the force also safeguarded more than 2,500 children from sexual crimes.