A man ensnared in a paedo sting has been jailed after being caught with almost 2,000 child abuse images on his phone.

Shekeil Iqbal, 34, from Reading, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

He previously pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, and three counts of making indecent images of children.

Reading Crown Court heard yesterday (June 25) how Iqbal amassed a vast library of child abuse images.

Overall, police found 1,868 indecent photos and videos on his phone.

Judge Sarah Campbell suggested this could be the tip of the iceberg, as a further 31,000 images on Iqbal's device were never analysed.

The defendant was exposed after a sting by an undercover paedophile hunter in the summer of 2020.

The hunter posed as a 14-year-old girl named 'Gemma' online.

Judge Campbell said: "The defendant, using the name 'Simon,' made contact using a dating app with a woman. She was pretending to be a 14-year-old girl named 'Gemma.'"

Iqbal displayed 'patience' in his interactions with the other user, which gradually became more sexual.

At one stage, he encouraged them to perform a sex act on themselves.

After examining their text exchanges, a probation officer said that Iqbal had used classic 'grooming' tactics.

As well as making graphic sexual comments, the defendant expressed an awareness of the risks involved, telling the undercover paedophile hunter: "No funny stuff - I don't want to get arrested."

Ultimately, he arranged to meet the 'girl' for sex - and was detained by police in a Reading car park.

Judge Campbell told Iqbal: "On arrest, illegal images were retrieved from your mobile. There were a high volume of images, and a large number of moving images."

511 of the images on Iqbal's phone were in Category A - the most extreme class.

In addition to the child abuse images, police found 14 extreme pornographic images on the defendant's device.

A pre-sentence report concluded that Iqbal has 'entrenched deviant sexual interests.'

On this basis, the judge jailed Iqbal for four years and four months.