A teacher from Luton who sent sexual text messages to a teenage boy at a Dunstable school has been jailed for 14 months.
Syed Raza, 46, of Blakeney Drive, was arrested and charged in December 2017, after an electronic device was found by the victim’s mother.
When she asked her son, he said it was a gift from Raza.
A number of explicit messages were found on the phone from Raza and the police were immediately alerted.
Raza pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual communication with a child at a court hearing in November and was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Friday, January 4.
As well as the 14-month prison sentence, Raza has been given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) for 10 years.
Detective Constable Zac Kozlowski, who investigated the case, said: “I am pleased that Raza received a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to this offence as he deliberately took advantage of a child by abusing his position of trust as a teacher by buying him gifts.
“I hope that this sentence will serve as a warning to other predators who think this type of behaviour is acceptable.
“Many children and young people don’t understand that they have been the victim of grooming or that it is abuse. Luckily in this case, the victim’s mother discovered what was happening before it could escalate in something more sinister.
“Any child can become the victim of grooming, no matter what their sex, ethnicity or background. If you think that this might be happening to you or someone you know then it’s important you speak out and tell someone you trust.”
The signs of grooming aren’t always obvious and groomers will often go to great lengths not to be identified.
If a child is being groomed they may:
> Be very secretive, including about what they are doing online.
> Have older boyfriends or girlfriends.
> Go to unusual places to meet friends.
> Have new things such as clothes or mobile phones that they can’t or won’t explain.
> Have access to drugs and alcohol.
If you have any concerns about the possible sexual abuse of children, please call police immediately on 101, or 999 if someone is at immediate risk of harm.