Tees

Facebook paedophile jailed for attempting to groom girls for sex

Anthony Nelson
Image caption Nelson was jailed for four years and eight months at Teesside Crown Court

A paedophile from County Durham has been jailed for attempting to groom underage girls for sex.

Anthony Nelson, 52, from Shildon, posed as a 14-year-old girl and another man on Facebook in an attempt to lure children into having sex.

Nelson was jailed for inciting a child to have sex, attempting to have sex with a child and possessing hundreds of indecent images of children.

He was sentenced to four years and eight months at Teesside Crown Court.

The court heard the 52-year-old was caught out by a police officer pretending to be an 11-year-old.

Officer commended

Using a fake profile, Nelson befriended an 11-year-old girl from Cheshire and tried to incite her to get in contact.

The girl became concerned and told her parents, who contacted police.

An undercover officer, given the pseudonym Det Con Si Fleming for the court case, took over the girl's Facebook account and monitored Nelson's messages.

Even when the defendant was told the girl he thought he was grooming was 11, he carried on, the court heard.

Nelson, using the same fake profile, also tried to groom a 15-year-old from the Thames Valley area.

He sent both girls sexual messages, the court heard, but never met them.

Carl Swift, defending, said "That kind of lifestyle drifted into what he accepts was quite disgusting criminal conduct."

After he was arrested, police seized computers and found 1,400 indecent images of children.

Judge Peter Armstrong said the police officer "is to be commended" after "an excellent job" of bringing Nelson to justice.

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