A MAN has been jailed after a girl informed her teacher he had sent her explicit messages which then led to police uncovering child porn on his phone.
Lee Hatfield (29), of Manor Close, Rawmarsh, has begun a three-year jail sentence after admitting to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and possessing indecent images of children.
He appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday for sentencing after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.
Hatfield groomed a 13-year-old girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, on Facebook in November 2015.
Despite knowing her age he began sending sexually explicit messages and images to her.
The victim reported this to a teacher the following day and the police were informed. Hatfield was arrested and his electronic devices seized.
Upon examination, they were found to contain indecent images and videos of children.
Det Insp John Fitzgibbons, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Hatfield groomed a young teenage girl, sending her inappropriate and explicit messages of an increasingly sexual nature, despite him knowing her age.
“The images recovered from his devices demonstrate he is a risk to young people so I am pleased he accepted responsibility for his crimes and is now behind bars where he can pose no further harm.
“Pleading guilty also means his young victim will not have to face a distressing court process, though this is small consolation after her experience.
“I’d urge any young person out there who is being sexually abused or groomed online, or anyone with any concerns about a young person perhaps being exploited, to phone police so we can investigate and safeguard children from harm.”
Ian Thomas, Rotherham Council’s Strategic Director of Children’s Services said: “We commend the bravery of any young person who is a victim of abuse and is able to come forward and make sure the perpetrators face justice for their crimes.
“This outcome is testimony to the way in which the council and the police are coming together to work more closely and effectively, with a shared commitment to victims of these type of crimes.
“We hope this gives greater confidence to victims and survivors of abuse to come forward.”
Hatfield, who will serve half of his sentence on licence, has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
You can report concerns for a child by calling police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
You can also call or text the national child sexual exploitation helpline Say Something on 116 000.