Online sexual predator caught by undercover cop posing as young girl | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

A sexual predator has been jailed after grooming what he thought was a 12-year-old child online. Simon Howard sent explicit messages to the person he had met on social media and talked about meeting her in real life.

Swansea Crown Court heard the 33-year-old was actually communicating with an undercover police operative working as part of Tarian, the organised crime unit covering southern Wales. During the online exchanges, Howard described in graphic detail the kind of sexual activity he wanted to engage in with the girl, and also made arrangements to meet the child. Get the latest crime and court stories sent straight to your email inbox with our free newsletter

Simon Howard, of Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire, had previously pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual communications with a child, inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and arranging the commission of a child sex offence when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. With discounts for his guilty pleas Howard was sentenced to six years in prison. The defendant was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years, and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order designed to monitor and control his online activities.

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Speaking after the sentencing, detective inspector Leon Lewis of Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Simon Howard displayed predatory behaviour and groomed who he believed was a 12-year-old child. It is our absolute priority to protect and keep children safe in our communities. The work carried out by Tarian regional organised crime unit and Dyfed-Powys Police has helped to ensure that vulnerable children are protected from the risk Howard poses to them. If anyone has been a victim of child sexual abuse, I urge you to report it to your local police force via 101. We will always follow up allegations of abuse, no matter when they occurred. Victims can talk in confidence to experienced investigators and we can also help them get access to a range of other support services.”

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National Cyber Security