A man has been jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to trying to meet a teenage girl in Luton after grooming her online.
Farid Latrach, 20, of Upper Berkeley Street in City of Westminster, London, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Friday, April 20. He also pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual communication with a child.
He was sentenced to 18 months in a Young Offenders Institution. He will also be the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years, which bans him from accessing internet chat rooms and communicating with anyone under the age of 16.
He used Facebook to communicate with who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl but was arrested at a train station in Luton, where he had arranged to meet her. The intended victim did not actually exist, but was posed by ‘a paedophile hunters’ group who passed the information to police.
Detective Constable Lesley Horton, from Bedfordshire Police’s Emerald team, said: “We are committed to tackling online grooming, which is a real threat in the modern world.
“Offenders target young children for their own sexual gratification, and following grooming they arrange to meet their victims in real life.
“Their intention is to sexually abuse children. While, thankfully, there was no victim involved in this case, Latrach’s intentions were clear.
“We would like to encourage victims of online grooming and sexual abuse to come forward. We will take you seriously and bring offenders to justice.”