A PHOTOGRAPHER who sold pictures of topless young teenage girls has had the proceeds confiscated.

Financial investigators from the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), working in partnership with Cheshire Constabulary, have secured a confiscation order worth £53,056.57 against 51-year-old Andrew Alexander, of Bache Drive, Upton.

He was convicted at Chester Crown Court in February last year of making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

He pleaded guilty after two days of evidence and was sentenced to three and half years in prison and forced to sign the sex offenders register.

Alexander committed the offences while operating a photographic studio in Ellesmere Port. The girls involved - aged 12 to 15 - and their parents had no idea their dreams of a modelling career were being abused.

He later distributed the images for payment via the inter net.

The case was referred to the agency by Cheshire Constabulary and, following a financial investigation, Judge Roger Dutton at Chester Crown Court certified a criminal benefit and made a confiscation order for that amount.

Payment was ordered within six months, with a sentence of two years' imprisonment if he fails to pay.

The court also ordered Alexander to pay costs of £4,000.

Jane Earl, director of the ARA, said: 'This case demonstrates that the Proceeds of Crime Act can be used against all types of criminality and means that those involved in unlawful activity should understand that there is no hiding place for their ill-gotten gains.'