A PAEDOPHILE who plied his victims with cannabis and alcohol before sexually assaulting them has been jailed for 11 years.
Gary Costello, 39, formerly of Hancock Street, Blackburn, was convicted by a jury in September of sexually assaulting five girls at two addresses in Blackburn between 2003 and November, 2007.
Costello, who later moved to Windsor Avenue, Blackpool,denied the offences.
As a result, his victims were forced to give evidence during a nine-day trial at Preston Crown Court.
Det Con Elaine Smalley, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a long and complex investigation and we are satisfied with the outcome. “Costello continued to deny involvement and as a result his victims were forced to relive the ordeal through court which was extremely traumatic and distressing.
“The victims in this case have shown immense bravery and courage in coming forward and giving evidence in court.
“Police have offered support to the victims throughout the case, “I hope this sentence will be of some comfort to them and will allow them to move forward with their lives.”
Sentencing him at Lancaster Castle on Wednesday, Judge Pamela Badley said the offences were “grave” and that many lives had been affected by his behaviour.
The judge gave Costello a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and ordered that he be placed on the Sex Offender Register for life.
He was arrested in 2008 after two of the girls contacted the police and the resulting investigations led to the identification of three more victims.
They were aged 13 and 14 at the time of the offences.