A predatory paedophile, described as "every parent's nightmare", has been jailed for 14 years following a complex investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary's Child Sexual Exploitation team.

Mark Taylor, aged 49 and of Manor Park, Longlevens, Gloucester, met girls online, groomed them and then travelled to different parts of the country to commit sexual offences against them.

At Gloucester Crown Court on Wednesday, it was heard that Taylor was a predator who remained a danger to young girls.

At a previous court hearing, Taylor admitted two counts of meeting a child following sexual grooming, three counts of sexual activity with a child, four counts of making indecent photo of a child, two breaches of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and three counts of arranging/facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

One of Taylor's victims read a statement to the court, saying that she experienced panic attacks and feared leaving the house since the incident.

She said: "It was like someone had taken all the light and happiness out of me and turned it into darkness. I isolated myself away from loved ones. I put a barrier up around myself and shut off my emotions towards them."

Sentencing Taylor, Judge Ian Lawrie QC, Recorder for Gloucester, said he posed a serious risk of harm to children.

Judge Lawrie said: "The hallmark of your offending is a clear and manipulative fixation for sexual contact with very young and clearly vulnerable young girls.

“Because of their tender years, their inexperience of life and their own inevitable immaturity and attendant emotional difficulties, you ruthlessly exploited their vulnerability for your own sexual purposes.

"You are a predator and you know what to say. You have a very unhealthy interest in young girls. You appear to be a man in denial (of this), and a man in denial is dangerous."

Taylor was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years and will have to sign the sex offenders register. A restraining order was also put in place, preventing him from contacting one of the victims.

Judge Lawrie praised the investigating officer, Detective Constable Bernadette Harding, for the work that she had been put into the case.

He said: "I want to congratulate you on the excellent work you have done. I have been impressed with the way you have dealt professionally with quite a complicated case.

"It is the kind of professionalism I have come to expect from Gloucestershire Constabulary."

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Harding said: "Taylor is every parent's nightmare. He is a predatory paedophile who would travel great distances across the UK to commit sexual offences against extremely vulnerable children.

"He has systematically targeted young vulnerable females via social media. He would groom and manipulate them over these online platforms before travelling to meet and then sexually exploit them.

"The psychological damage he caused to them was as significant as the sexual abuse itself. I hope that now the victims can start to move forward, with the knowledge that Taylor is behind bars.

"I would like to take this time to thank the victims for their ongoing bravery throughout the investigation."