A JUDGE sentencing a gang of paedophiles described their actions as ‘the most shockingly sordid exploitation of the very young’.
Judge Julian Lambert sentenced the seven men to a total of 78 years in prison after they raped and sexually abused children under five.
Bristol Crown Court heard the men, including Matthew Stansfield from Gosport, would offer advice on using ‘date rape’ drugs or over-the-counter medication to make children and babies drowsy.
Known victims of the men include one baby, a four-year-old boy and a boy aged between four and five.
Judge Lambert said: ‘You each made choices. Those choices have proved catastrophic for you personally but that is of slight concern when compared with the devastating impact of your actions on the victims and their families.
‘The material you viewed and the urges you excited in each other were matters of choice for you.
‘You sought out the darkest materials on the internet and met in cyberspace to discuss your perverted sexual desires.
‘You then planned the most shockingly sordid exploitation of the very young for sexual purposes.
‘Targeting innocent children in that way is utterly abhorrent and is bound to receive punishment.
‘The degraded and deplorable state into which you have rendered yourselves is pitiful but there is no room for mercy here.
‘All sympathy and compassion must be extended to the victims of crime and their families, and not you.’
The National Crime Agency uncovered the abuse last September after offender Adam Toms contacted police to admit he had abused a child.
The court heard how the men travelled in groups across the country to abuse the children, videoing it at the same time. They then shared the videos online.
The seven men, aged between 31 and 51 from across the country were convicted of 29 child sex abuse offences, including conspiracy to rape and the multiple rape of a child aged under 13.
They were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.