A child rapist who met his victims after advertising online as a carer has been jailed for ten years.

Michael Ponzo quickly earned the trust of his victims' families before sexually abusing at least five children aged between six and 12.

As well as performing a series of sickening sex acts on the extremely vulnerable youngsters the 20-year-old scout leader also filmed some of it.

And while only the four boys and one girl have been identified as victims, police found scores of other images and films he had made of children being abused stored on his phone and laptop.

Officers also recovered email conversations he had with other paedophiles where they were talking about sharing their vile footage.

Mark Worsley, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the parents of three of the victims met him via a site called childcare.co.uk.

He said a disabled single mum contacted him in December 2014 and after he passed the relevant checks he came and helped her with her six-year-old son.

But she became suspicious when they spent so much time alone in the boy's bedroom and the lad eventually disclosed that Ponzo had made him watch porn on his phone.

Over a similar period of time a couple with two boys, aged eight and six and with special needs, also met Ponzo through the website.

Although he got on well with the children they became concerned when one of the children started talking about sex, revealing Ponzo had told him about it Both families contacted the police and when the defendant was arrested at the home he shares with his family his phone and computer were seized and looked at.

Among the hundreds of indecent images of children police found pictures and movies of him repeatedly abusing the three boys.

They also recognised a brother and sister of concerned friends, but other children in the images could not be identified.

Also on his computer he had used search terms like 'Kiddies getting changed' as well as sending messages to other perverts about sharing material.

Ponzo, of Colbrook Road, Coleview, admitted two counts of rape, 13 of sexual assault of a child under 13 and 25 making or possessing indecent images of children.

In a victim statement the disabled mum of the first victim told how her son had been changed by the abuse he had suffered, turning him from a happy lad to an angry child.

She said: "I seem to have lost my caring little boy. I believe this is due to what he went through.

"He locks himself in his bedroom when he come home from school. He also does this at weekends."

And the mother of the brothers said one now self harmed saying: "He cut at his hair and eye lashes so he didn't look so pretty."

Both mums said they had placed a great deal of trust in Ponzo, which he had taken advantage of to abuse their children.

Alistair Grainger, defending, said his client had made full admission to police, had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was still a young man.

He said he was 18 or 19 at the time of the offending and clearly needed help, but urged the court not to impose a life sentence saying: "There is always that prospect or hope that someone might change."

Jailing him Judge Tin Mousley QC said "Once the police investigation had begun it was obvious you had abused at least five children that could be identified.

"Your offending became more extreme as you got older and it culminated in the rape of a boy and a girl.

"Each of the children was particularly vulnerable. You grossly abused a position of trust. You planned what you did. It was repeated, you groomed each one of them by words and by showing them pornographic images.

"You knew that they were wholly innocent and that they did not know what they were doing was wrong and on occasions you recorded what you were did by photograph or video.

"I find it difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine what affect your abuse will have upon these children."

He said although he had no previous convictions he said he used his 'good character' to get into positions of trust.

Jailing him for ten years he told him he would serve two thirds before he could be considered for parole.

And when he was released his licence would be extended by another five years and he must register as a sex offender for life and can never work with children.

Following the sentence, Mary-Ruth Johnson, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Wessex Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Unit said: “Michael Ponzo has committed every parent’s worst nightmare. He raped a child, sexually assaulted children and took images of his abuse. He abused the trust parents had placed in him to look after their children. The parents of three of the children had contacted him via a childcare website as they were looking for either a carer or baby-sitter.

“All the child victims in this case were vulnerable as they were very young when the offences took place.

“The impact of Michael Ponzo’s crimes has been devastating and now the children, and their families, have to recover from this terrible episode.

“CPS Wessex RASSO Unit will continue to work relentlessly with the police to bring such offenders to court. Our thoughts are with the victims and the parents in this case. We hope that they will find closure and that they will be able to move on with their lives.”