Peadophile ex-Tesco worker used Snapchat maps to hunt down victims in store

A sick paedo who worked in Tesco preyed on young girls he saw in the shop by hunting them down using a function on Snapchat.

Matthew Clarke, 23, groomed 13 young girls over a five-year period and has now been caged for 12 years after he pleaded guilty to 30 sex offences, at Ipswich Crown Court.

With victims as young as just 12-years-old Clarke would chat with his victims before turning the conversations sexual.

He would then use Snapchat’s Snapmap feature to track the girls down when they were in the store he worked in, in Colchester, Essex.

This feature allows an account holder to see where other users are geographically when they have it enabled. He would track their movements in the store before making in-person contact with the victims.

The court heard how he followed this up with sexual talk where he would also encourage the girls to send him explicit images that he used to blackmail them, by saying that he'd make them public if they didn't comply with his wishes.

Clarke abused three of the girls after meeting them in person. Sentencing, Judge Emma Peters said: "You are a threat to children and you are every parent’s worst nightmare."

He was caught after one of his victim's mothers reported him in April 2019. He was arrested a month later.

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Police discovered 35 different conversations on Snapchat with girls all aged under 16.

Det Sgt Ben Rushmere said Clarke knew how old the victims were yet still "proactively pursued them".

He added: "He instigated conversations with them and on many occasions persuaded them to send him intimate or explicit images of themselves to him.

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"This pattern of predatory behaviour over several years clearly shows he is a danger to young girls.

"Fortunately, the work of my team meant he had no option but to admit the charges against him and will now spend a significant amount of time behind bars.

"I want to praise the bravery of the victims. They are young girls who have been preyed upon and have shown tremendous courage in reporting to us what Clarke had done to them.

"No-one should experience what they have and I hope this sentencing will help them move forward."

As well as a 12-year jail sentence, Clarke will serve a further eight on an extended licence and will remain on the sex offender’s register for life.

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