Appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court Ronald Neill, 57 of Romford RM6 was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
He had pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent images of children at North East London Magistrates, with the first hearing on Tuesday, 25 August.
He was also made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) after entering guilty pleas – this outlines strict restrictions around his contact with children, and access and use of the internet.
On Saturday, 15 August, a report was made to police by a parent who was concerned about a personalised gift their son had been given by a bus driver.
Enquiries led police to identify the person who had given the gift as Ronald Neill, who drove a bus in east London. Officers from Central Specialist Crime led the investigation, and Neill was arrested on 17 August on suspicion of grooming.
Enquiries revealed that whilst driving a bus, Neill had asked boys for their names and offered them gifts – such as personalised football memorabilia – in exchange for taking their pictures. These were not indecent images.
His home was later searched, and officers discovered print-outs of indecent images of children in his bedroom. Neill was taken to a police station and interviewed. He admitted to making and downloading the images.
Neill was charged on Tuesday, 18 August with one count of making indecent images of children, and appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on the same day.
Officers subsequently found further images of children on his home computer and mobile phone – these were graded as category A and B images, A depicting the most serious child abuse. He was then charged with three further counts of making indecent images of children.
Detective Constable Dec Wilson, from the Modern Slavery Child Exploitation team, said: “Neill admitted to having a sexual interest in children, while working in a job that brought him into regular contact with young people.
“His buying of gifts for the boys he met on the bus was a clear sign of grooming, and I would like to thank the families who gave us information about Neill’s behaviour to support this prosecution, and the sexual harm order he now has to abide by or face further prosecution.
“We would urge any parent or carer who is aware that their child has had recent contact with Neill, or received gifts from him, to come forward and speak to officers.”
You can contact the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation team, part of Central Specialist Crime, on 101 quoting Operation Foundation.