A SEX predator who left victims being physically sick after his abuse has been jailed for four years.

Richard Hutchinson enticed underage boys into his company with work delivering fliers soliciting business for him.

After the youngsters did jobs for him, he would drive them to secluded spots to carry out sex acts.

A judge told Hutchinson, 71: "It is clear you groomed and manipulated your victims and you did this with the aim of abusing them."

Lord Pentland said: "In each case you first gained the trust of your victims by giving them money and other inducements."

He told him: "In view of the gravity of these offences, only a custodial sentence is appropriate."

Lord Pentland said he accepted the first offender was a man of previous good character and was now remorseful for his actions.

The judge told Hutchinson at the High Court in Edinburgh that he would have jailed him for six years if he had been convicted of the sex crimes after trial.

He told him that he would be on the sex offenders' register for the remainder of his life.

Hutchinson, of Ashgrove Place, Musselburgh, committed the offences against three teenagers between 1996 and 2002.

He earlier admitted three charges of indecent assault and a further indecency offence.

Hutchinson targeted teenagers from homes that were struggling financially and paid them to carry out business tasks for him.

He drove one teenager to Edinburgh's Calton Hill and introduced him to a rent boy before demonstrating on the victim what he did.

He told another underage boy that he would be wearing nice suits and get paid good money for escort work but would need to practise on him.

Advocate depute Steven Borthwick said: "The accused would regularly ask the complainers, who were children at the time, to deliver business leaflets for him in exchange for money."

The court heard that two of the victims were sick after sex acts that followed.

Mr Borthwick said that after paying a 15-year-old boy for working for him, Hutchinson collected him and drove to Calton Hill.

The prosecutor said: "The accused introduced the complainer to a male whom he described as a 'rent boy'. He went on to explain to the complainer that as a 'rent boy' this male performed sexual tasks for money."

The teenager did not fully understand and Hutchinson began touching him and told him: "This is what he does."

The boy froze and said nothing.

Hutchinson's offending behaviour towards the youngster escalated in seriousness with him getting the victim to perform sex acts on him.

Mr Borthwick said that much of the abuse occurred after Hutchinson had driven the victim to remote locations in the dark.

Hutchison offered another boy, aged 13, money to help him at his work but afterwards drove him to a wooded area and molested the child.

The prosecutor said that the victim did not say anything, adding: "He froze due to shock and was petrified."

The sex offender also made his victim carry out a sex act on him and after it the teenager was physically sick in the street.

Mr Borthwick said that on one occasion Hutchinson took the victim, then aged 14, to a bed and breakfast and gave him drink before performing a sex act on the intoxicated child.

Hutchinson arranged to meet his third victim, who was 15, after saying he had work for him and drove him to the Aberlady area.

"Throughout the drive, the accused spoke to the complainer about an escort job and told him that he could make a lot of money having sex with people," said the prosecutor.

"The accused went on to say the complainer would need to practise on the accused before he would put him forward to the escort business," said the advocate depute.

The teenager told him he did not want to get involved but Hutchinson contacted him again and took him to a secluded spot where he spoke to him about it again and got him to perform a sex act.

Hutchinson later told the teenager that if he took part in escort work he would be wearing nice suits, going to nice places, having nice meals and getting paid good money.

He got the boy to perform a sex act on him, after which the youngster was sick in the car. Hutchinson gave him £20.

After Hutchinson was detained by police and informed he was under arrest for sexual assault, he claimed he could not believe it.

Defence solicitor advocate Jim Stephenson said that Hutchinson accepted he would receive a prison sentence for the offences.

Mr Stephenson asked the judge to take into Hutchinson's ill-health and the "deep regret" he had shown for his actions.