A MAN from Chorley has been jailed after launching cyber-attacks on two police websites in revenge.

Liam Reece Watts had earlier pleaded guilty to the attacks on both Cheshire and Greater Manchester Police before appearing at Chester Crown Court for sentencing.

The 20-year-old, of Stratford Road, launched the Deliberate Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on August 22 2018 and March 22 2019, where he used specialist software to overload the websites.

This caused them to malfunction, rendering them inaccessible to the general public.

During both attacks, Watts posted messages on social media in which he admitted responsibility and even taunted officers about the pleasure he had at being able to bring the sites down.

In one of the messages bragging about the attack on Cheshire Police, Watts claimed he was retaliating for a previous conviction relating to a bomb hoax in Warrington.

For carrying out the attacks, Watts was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Detective Sergeant Chris Maddocks, of Cheshire Constabulary’s Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Watts is an immature individual who deprived the people of Cheshire and Greater Manchester of their access to a public service by taking down Police websites.

“While sitting behind his computer screen, he clearly felt safe enough to commit a serious offence under Computer Misuse Act offences.

“As a result of the two attacks, thousands of people were unable to access the sites to view vital information, seek updates on the progress of ongoing investigations, report minor crimes or contact local officers.

“I hope that Watts' conviction will act as a warning to anyone who would engage in this type of behaviour online and show how seriously both police and the courts treat crimes of this nature.”

Detective Sergeant Maddocks also reassured the public that at no point was Watts able to view any confidential information or have access to any police systems.