A ‘dangerous predator’ from Bedford has been jailed for two-and-a-half-years after officers found he was attempting to meet and have sex with someone he believed was a 12-year-old girl.
Andrew Jeffrey, 38, of Chillingham Green, Bedford, was arrested on 30 January 2019 after sending a number of sexually explicit messages and attempting to meet someone he believed was a young girl.
Jeffrey struck up a conversation on an instant messaging app and after only a couple of hours of conversation, began sending sexually explicit messages and images and tried to persuade the girl to come to his house.
Investigators became increasingly concerned after Jeffrey described how he could get her “high” on drinks and drugs and two days later, police executed a warrant at his home address, seized a number of electronic devices and arrested him.
Jeffrey pleaded guilty to three counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and one count of attempting sexual communication with a child.
He received a 30-month sentence at court on Friday 12 March.
Emma Shipton, Investigation Officer from Bedfordshire Police’s Internet Child Abuse Investigation team, said: “Jeffrey is a dangerous predator and I’m pleased that he will now spend the next two-and-a-half years in prison.
“This case shows the importance of the work that our officers do in gathering vital evidence to arrest and charge these offenders in what can be a very difficult online space to enter.
“This time Jeffrey was speaking to our officers, but people who commit these types of offences online can often go on to abuse children in the offline world, which is why it is vital we investigate them thoroughly and put safeguarding measures in place.
“It is important that we educate children on how they can protect themselves online. This includes not talking to anyone who they don’t know in real life, not sharing any personal information, and keeping privacy settings as high as possible.
“We’d advise parents to have a conversation with their children about online safety, and make sure that they feel comfortable in speaking about anything they see online which makes them feel uncomfortable.”
Parents can visit the Parents Protect website, which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for lots of useful resources to help prevent online child sexual abuse.
It also contains a list of organisations and resources focusing on keeping children safe in the digital world.
The NSPCC Share Aware website also contains advice and tips about how children can keep themselves safe online.
To report concerns around child sexual abuse call the police on 101.