A MAN who preyed on girls as young as 14 in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire has been jailed after being convicted of more than a dozen sexual offences.

Ross McCrum, from Uddingston, was found guilty of 20 charges at the High Court in Glasgow on October 27, including rapes, sexual assaults and indecent and sexual communications with women and young girls as young as 14.

The crimes occurred between June 2014 and January 2020 in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, Irvine and at a hotel in Ayr.

McCrum, 27, has been sentenced to 11 years and has been placed on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period.

He raped two of his victims and also sent lewd photos of himself and tried to arrange to meet some of the girls for sex - one as young as 14.

McCrum further forced one of the teenagers to send him intimate photos.

He raped one 14-year-old girl in Uddingston in 2014.

The charge included an allegation that he ordered her into a store cupboard.

The other rape victim was attacked in the same property in the town in 2019.

He sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at the hotel in Ayr in the same year.

One of the youngsters McCrum sent naked photos to was just 13.

Prosecutors stated he also pestered and threatened a reluctant 15-year-old to send pictures of herself.

Edward Targowski KC, defencing, said McCrum was described as showing "social and sexual immaturity, no doubt related to his low IQ and learning difficulties".

Detective Sergeant Mark Nelson of Coatbridge CID said: "I hope the outcome at court can bring some comfort to his victims and their families.

"This conviction has only been possible due to the bravery and courage of those who came forward to report this horrific abuse and I commend and thank them for speaking out.

"I would encourage anyone who is experiencing or has experienced abuse to come forward and report it to police.

"All reports of abuse and sexual assaults, regardless of the passage of time, will be thoroughly investigated by Police Scotland and victims will be supported throughout."

Anyone who wishes to report a crime can contact Police Scotland on 101 or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.