A TEENAGER has been locked up for 12 months for blackmailing two schoolchildren and making indecent images.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke down in tears when he learnt his fate at York Youth Court, after he had demanded images be sent to him on the picture and video messaging app Snapchat.

He blackmailed two 14-year-olds between January and May this year before police found 362 inappropriate pictures and 36 videos on various electronic devices when they searched his home.

The teenager was sent images from one boy after he threatened to hack into his Xbox account.

He also received four images from another child after telling him he had his social network account passwords and would hack into them if he failed to send them.

The boy blocked the teenager on Snapchat and social networks, but was threatened with the images being posted on the websites if he did not unblock the defendant.

The teenager tried to persuade others, including the boy's brother, to get him to unblock him, but this led to the crime being revealed, and parents and teachers discovering the extent of the incidents.

Thomas Stanway, prosecuting, said 12 children at a York school were interviewed about the teenager contacting them, but only two were blackmailed.

Mr Stanway said: "These offences speak for themselves. We have the defendant contacting 12 youths via various electronic methods and it's clear threats were made.

"The sheer number of images that have been amassed make it clear this would have been done over some time."

Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks, defending, said: "All of theses offences have been borne out of a period in the defendant's life of much confusion and a struggle with his own identity.

"He has struggled with his identity and a depleted self worth and did not reach out to those close to him."

District Judge David Kitson sentenced the teenager to 12 months in a detention centre and a five year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

He said: "At the end of the day I cannot overlook the seriousness of these offences and the effect these must have had on your young victims, ranging from embarrassment about what's happened and relaying that to their parents and teachers at school.

"I have little doubt that this would have gone around the school and into the wider community."

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, which runs www.thinkuknow.co.uk advice website, says children who are worried about being exploited should speak to parents and teachers, or contact ChildLine or Barnardo's.