Four paedophiles who used graffiti to advertise for under-age girls to abuse have been given jail sentences ranging from eight years to life.
The men were arrested after a local newspaper reporter posed as an 11-year-old and contacted the group. Police arranged to meet one of the abusers and tracked the other offenders down.
The inquiry was started by Ruth Lumley, 26, who was travelling on a train between Chichester and Brighton when she noticed graffiti on a lavatory door urging girls between eight and 13 to text a mobile phone number. Ms Lumley, who worked on the Chichester Observer in West Sussex, at the time, replied to the advert and was sent a series of increasingly explicit messages from a mobile phone.
She alerted police and prompted a 10-month investigation that uncovered "horrific" child abuse on eight victims and led detectives to Trevor Haddock, 55, from Worcester, Ian Jones, 43, of Worthing, John Farmer, 68, of Pevensey, East Sussex, and Derek Moody, 43, from Newcastle.
The four, who were sentenced yesterday, pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to a range of sex offences including rape, conspiracy to rape and incitement to sexually assault a child.