A HAMPSHIRE man who waged a campaign of sexual abuse against two young girls has been jailed for 18 years.

Colin Sweed, 59, of Beech Crescent, Hythe, was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court after being found guilty of 11 offences committed between 1986 and 2003.

The girls were aged between three and 14-years-old when they were abused at various locations in Southampton and the New Forest.

Sweed’s crimes included rape, indecent assault of a female under 16-years-old, gross indecency with a child under 14-years-old and gross indecency with a child under 16-years-old.

The charity Yellow Door, previously known as the Rape Crisis Team played a key role throughout the police’s two-year investigation.

One of the victims contacted Yellow Door in June 2016 and spoke with an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) about her experience.

They supported her in reporting the non-recent abuse to police.

Off the back of her initial report, another victim was identified and officers contacted her to see if she supported a police investigation too.

Gaining the trust of both women, police worked with the expertise of Yellow Door to pursue a prosecution.

The investigation spanned two years and ended with Sweed receiving 18 years in jail for the crimes his victims had to suffer that afflicted most of their childhoods.

Detective Constable Heather Tack from Western Investigation Team at Southampton Central Police Station said: “We don’t underestimate the long-lasting effects that this sort of offending has on victims.

"I would like to thank the women involved for their courage in coming forward and re-living these horrendous experiences in the court room in order to bring this man to justice.”

The Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) coordinator Tracey Stovold added: “It takes an enormous amount of courage for victims to come forward and report these types of offences and they often do so not just to see justice being done but in the interests of protecting others.

"The ISVA team and police work collaboratively in providing a range of support for victims for this type of crime."

Yellow Door is a registered charity working to support individuals and communities affected by domestic and sexual abuse across Southampton and western Hampshire.