A man who posed as a 16-year-old girl online to blackmail dozens of teenage boys has been jailed for 21 years.
Jay Lang, 24, used the alias "Chloe" to contact his victims, who were aged between 11 and 16, on social media apps including Snapchat and Instagram.
He instigated sexualised conversations, asking the boys to send him pictures or videos, before blackmailing them into sending more images or money.
Lang targeted 26 victims, mainly from Canvey Island, Benfleet, Basildon and Southend, in Essex, between April 2018 and November 2021.
He was jailed for 21 years, with an extended licence period of six years, at Basildon Combined Court on Friday after pleading guilty to 46 charges.
He will serve a minimum of 14 years in jail before being eligible for release.
Lang's name will also be placed on the sex offenders' register for the rest of his life.
They include counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing or inciting child sexual exploitation, arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence, causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography and blackmail.
Judge Samantha Cohen told him: "You are a predatory, manipulative and dangerous young man.
"You have wreaked havoc through the lives of 26 young men and their families."
She said he was "aroused by the power and control" the offending gave him and that it caused "anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and suicide attempts".
The scale of Lang's offending came to light during an 18-month Essex Police investigation after a report from one victim.
Officers seized electronic devices from his home in Canvey before trawling through hundreds of gigabits of phone data to identify social media accounts he had interacted with.
When confronted with the evidence in a police interview, Lang said: "Well you're meant to be doing the investigation, I'm sure you'll find out. Keep digging."
During the sentencing the judge commended the bravery of Lang's victims and cited the "appalling consequences" of his offending, leading to victims suffering significant anxiety and distress, with their schooling also disrupted.
Detective Sergeant Ben Rushmere, who leads the child sexual exploitation proactive investigation team, said: "Today's sentence rightly highlights the true scale of Lang's horrific offending. He used social media to prey upon young people and exploit them either for financial gain or for his own gratification.
"But much more important than Lang, I would like to commend each and every victim, and their families, who came forward and worked with us. It is only with their candour and support that we have been able to build a case so strong that Lang was left with no other option but to admit 46 extremely serious offences.
"This is without doubt the largest scale child exploitation investigation Essex Police has ever embarked upon and it has required extraordinary commitment from our team to ensure each identified victim has received justice."
Chief Inspector Paul Hogben, district commander for Rochford and Castle Point, added: "This investigation and its result undoubtedly has made our district, and those surrounding it, a much safer place for our community.
"We have teams in place, both locally and across our force, which are dedicated to keeping the people of Rochford and Castle Point safe and ensuring those who would do harm are arrested, charged and ultimately punished by the court."