THE NSPCC have reacted after a man who said he wanted to rape and sexually assault a 14-year-old in the woods was sentenced to eight months in prison.

Tony Morriss, 21, also known as Tony Lamport, was caught outside Basingstoke Hospital last month by the paedeophile hunting group Safeguarding Kids Online after he messaged one of their decoys on Facebook.

He was confronted when he thought he would be meeting a 14-year-old girl, after telling her that he would take her into the woods, rape her and sexually assault her.

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Reacting to the news on Thursday afternoon, the NSPCC said that it was "right" that he was imprisoned.

"Far too often, the internet is used by predators like Morriss as a gateway to target children," a spokesperson told the Gazette.

"He clearly intended to inflict pain and suffering on a young girl for his own depraved pleasure, and it is right that he is now behind bars.

"This case highlights why it is paramount that legislation is brought in to force tech providers to ensure keeping children safe online is a priority.”

Almost 46,000 people signed a petition launched by the charity in the summer campaigning to end what they call the "Wild West Web".

It called for statutory regulation imposing a duty of care on social networks to protect children.

They are calling for an independent regulator with the power to fine social networks if they do not make their sites safe, as well as 'safe accounts' for children.

They also demand that social networks produce reports detailing how safe they are.

  • Children concerned about online safety and sexual abuse can contact Childline on 0800 1111. Adults concerned about the wellbeing of a child can phone the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000.