A MAN who posed as an academic to scam students into having sex with him has been jailed.
Mark Lancaster, 40, set up a website to target students, offering them up to £15,000 worth of scholarships by making them believe the sexual activity was the practical assessment of the interview process.
Women would be directed to the website and asked to register their interest.
They received an email back almost immediately from a woman called Emma Forester – a name created to put the women at ease.
After an exchange of emails, an interview was arranged. Lancaster went on to meet a number of women, often in a private rented apartment which he had arranged weeks in advance.
On at least one occasion he fitted covert cameras in the bedroom and bathroom of the apartment and recorded sexual activity.
Lancaster of Letcombe Place, Horndean, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 months for a charge of voyeurism and 16 months for a charge of trafficking persons within the UK for sexual exploitation contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, to run consecutively.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland said: ‘Mark Lancaster targeted vulnerable students in an elaborate and sophisticated scam. He set up Sponsor A Scholar purporting to be a respected academic.
‘A number of women are believed to have contacted the site. He deceived a student and sexually exploited her for his own gratification.
‘He covertly filmed sexual acts without the knowledge of the victim and continued to maintain the pretence that his business was legitimate.
‘After this encounter he was exposed by an undercover journalist and the Metropolitan Police followed up this news report.
‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank the victim for her bravery and resilience and appeal for any victims of this or similar crimes to come forward.’
Sarah Jennings, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Lancaster set up this elaborate scam with the sole purpose of sexually exploiting female students who found themselves in a vulnerable financial situation.
‘This was a particularly nasty and degrading experience for the woman involved, which robbed her of valued privacy.’