Beds, Herts & Bucks

Former Luton police officer 'trawled Facebook for teen sex'

Mohammad Arshad Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Mohammad Arshad groomed underage girls online and pestered them for sex, sometimes paying them, St Albans Crown Court heard

A former police officer searched Facebook to find vulnerable girls to have sex with, a court has heard.

Mohammad Arshad, 35, of Luton, groomed underage girls online and pestered them for sex, sometimes paying them, St Albans Crown Court heard.

He raped a 14-year-old victim on the back seat of his car.

Arshad was convicted earlier of 17 charges relating to 12 girls and was warned he faced a substantial jail term when sentenced next month.

The court was told he began abusing girls in 2012, when he was a CCTV operator in Luton town centre.

He applied to join Bedfordshire Police the following year and joined the force in April 2014, only to be suspended six months later when an investigation began.

'Sexually suggestive'

It was discovered he had contacted his victims over Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, WhatsApp and by text.

Prosecutor James Newton-Price told the jury: "He flattered girls and complimented them and sent sexually suggestive messages.

"Most refused his sexual advances. Some thought it was a joke.

"He persistently pestered girls for sex or some sort of touching or groping."

Arshad sent a photo of his penis to the youngest girl, who was 13 and paid a 16-year-old girl for sex - an illegal act as she was under 18.

Police searched his home and found images of teenage girls on his phone and computer.

Arshad, of Ferndale Road, Luton, was convicted of nine counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, three of sexual activity with a child, two of meeting a child following sexual grooming, one of rape, one of causing a child to watch a sexual act and one of paying for the sexual services of a child.

He was cleared of five similar charges.

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