Pervert used social media app to chat to girl

Crown Court
Crown Court
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A man tried to encourage a teenage girl to send indecent photographs of herself through a social media app, a court has heard.

Mark Smith, 44, of Heald Street, Chorley, admitted a string of eight offences during a hearing at Preston Crown Court.

They include two of attempting to incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity.

The court was told between March 1 and 7 last year, Smith encouraged the girl to send a picture of herself to him via Kik messenger, and also encouraged a 14-year-old to engage in sexual conversation.

Smith also admitted six charges relating to possessing indecent images and videos of children.

The court was told when he was arrested in Chorley, 40 pictures were found on a Samsung mobile phone. Two were considered category A - the most serious in law, while three were ranked category B and 35 deemed category C.

Smith had indecent video recordings of children stored in a Dropbox folder, of which eight were category A, three category B and 32 at category C.

Judge Heather Lloyd sentenced him to 26 weeks, suspended for two years, and he must sign the Sex Offender’s register for seven years.

Last year the Post raised concern online dating apps have become a “paedophile’s playground” after a reporter, posing as a teenager, was approached by several adults.

Police figures show 29 under 16s have been victims in crime reports linked to either online dating or dating apps in Lancashire between 2012 and 2017.