Perverted Scoutleader Matthew Burhouse lied about his age to trick young girls into sex acts.

A court was the 41-year-old pretended to be in his 20s to chat to teenage girls in internet chatrooms, encouraging them to engage in sexual activity.

Burhouse, 41 was jailed for two years at Leeds Crown Court after a judge heard about his secret life which also includeded child pornography.

Catherine Silverton prosecuting said police had searched Burhouse’s home in Dowker Street, Milnsbridge, in March last year and recovered three hard drives, a server and a laptop.

Matthew Burhouse at Kirklees Magistrates' Court

They were examined and six images and four movies at Category A, the most serious involving penetrative sexual activity, were found, along with five images and 19 movies at Category B and 15 images at category C.

The children depicted were aged between six and 14 and had been downloaded between December 2011 and March last year, at a time when he was a Scoutleader in Golcar.

Officers also discovered one extreme pornographic image and four movies involving animals. Examination of the devices also revealed he had made internet searches using terms such as pretty young girl and innocent young girl.

Miss Silverton said never met any of the girls online but would ask those aged 15-16 to do things by touching themselves sexually while describing it and he would pleasure himself at the same time.

Robin Frieze representing Burhouse said his arrest had followed information being given to the police by a paedophile hunter posing as a teenage girl.

Matthew Burhouse pretended to be in his 20s to chat to teenage girls in internet chatrooms (stock image)
Matthew Burhouse pretended to be in his 20s to chat to teenage girls in internet chatrooms (stock image)

The offences involving the chatrooms had then only come to light because of the defendant’s honesty in interview since no victims had actually been identified. “These are not contact offences, it was virtual contact.”

Mr Frieze said Burhouse had lost his job following his arrest and suggested he was classically the type of person who would benefit from working with the probation service on the sex offender treatment programme.

Burhouse admitted six charges of possessing indecent images, one of possessing extreme pornography and three of inciting children to engage in sexual activity.

He was jailed for two years, ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order restricting contact with children under 16 and preventing his access to chat rooms or sites containing explicit sexual material.

Leeds Combined Courts, Crown Court.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC said he accepted Burhouse had never been in trouble before, had acted out of loneliness and was remorseful, but he had chosen to view images of children as young as six being sexually abused.

The judge said the pre-sentence report on him suggested he continued to have a sexual interest in children and teenage girls in spite of the disparity in ages.

“Mr Burhouse, those who use the internet to groom children must realise the consequences of doing so even for people of previous good character.

“Courts will protect children and will do so by imposing deterrent sentences.”

After the case Simon Carter, of The Scout Association, said: “We are aware of the court proceedings involving Burhouse and has co-operated with the statutory agencies during their investigation.

Burhouse was jailed for two years
Burhouse was jailed for two years

“As soon as we were made aware of his arrest in March 2015 he was suspended from all contact with the movement.

“The Scout Association condemns the actions of Burhouse. He has betrayed the trust placed upon him by parents and by the Scout Movement. Scouting is a values based organisation, which works for and on behalf of its youth members. There is no place in the movement for anyone who abuses that trust. We are pleased he has been punished for his crimes.

“The Scout Association carries out stringent vetting of all adults who work with young people and requires them to work to strict guidelines outlined in the ‘Young People First’ Code of Good Practice.”